Skype Helps You Live Long And Prosper With Spock, StubHub, IFTTT AI Chatbots

Skype Bot

Microsoft's been on a mission to bring a series of artificially intelligent chatbots to its Skype service as a way to enhance Skype and offer new experiences. That effort continues today with the introduction several more Skype Bots, including Spock, who can help you learn the ways of Vulcan logic (or provide a distraction from work).

This whole bot thing kicked off in April when Microsoft rolled out a series of preview Skype Bots. They've been well received and there are now over 30,000 developers building bots on the Skype platform, with thousands able to share their bots through a Skype join link directly on their website. That's pretty incredible for such a short amount of time.

Part of the reason for the ballooning interest is that Microsoft announced three key updates to the bot framework in July, including group functionality, the ability to create visual cards, and natural language detection.

"Skype has collaborated with Bing to showcase a preview of Bing Entity and Intent detection so that natural language understanding is built right into Skype Bots—an industry first," Microsoft said at the time.

In addition to chatting with Spock, there's also a new StubHub bot to help find tickets to various events, an IFTTT (If This Then That) that will send you Skype messages based on triggers of your choice, and a Hipmunk bot for getting flight, hotel, and general travel advice based on your preferences, such as price, vacation theme, and so forth.

While fun to use, Microsoft has bigger aspirations than just using Skype Bots as gimmicky distractions or serving them up as novelty additions to Skype.

"Intelligent conversations, such as those in Skype chat, will be where you discover information and get things done. We want bots to become the quickest way to handle simple tasks, like shopping or managing your calendar, and the most effortless way to complete complex tasks, such as booking a family vacation. And the more you use bots, the better they get at anticipating your needs," said Gurdeep Pall, Corporate Vice President of Skype.

There's even a fancy name for this stuff—Conversation as a Platform (CaaP). Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated at //build 2016 that his vision for CaaP is pairing "the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence." And yes, Skype Bots like Spock fit into that mold. It's all about enabling organizations and consumers to get more done and have more fun with the help of intelligent bots and digital personal assistants.