You could soon start talking to your favourite movie star, politician or other big celebrity on Facebook’s Messenger.
Or at least, you might be able to talk to the celebrity’s “chatbot.”
Chatbots are pieces of software that live inside messaging apps, answering questions posed to them by humans and handling certain tasks, like making dinner reservations.
When Facebook launched new tools for creating smart chatbots earlier this month, the company’s focused on how it could revolutionise the way you communicate with businesses.
You can use bots in Facebook’s chat app to order flowers, check your flight status, or get the weather.
But on the call for Facebook’s blockbuster Q1 earnings, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced a use-case that the company hadn’t mentioned before:
Having public figures take advantage of Messenger bots.
When one analyst asked about the future of Messenger, Zuckerberg called out bots as being able to make messaging “a lot faster for people who want to interact with businesses and public figures.”
A Beyonce Bot?
Although Zuckerberg didn’t elaborate beyond mentioning public figures alongside businesses several times when talking about bots, it’s interesting because Facebook has previously discussed bots in terms of their utility, whereas public figure bots seem like they’d be more geared towards entertainment.
Maybe you want to ask Beyonce what her favourite movies are at the moment? Or perhaps you want to know a celebrity chef’s favourite restaurant in a certain city.
Theoretically, celebrities might be able to create special chatbots that can answer such questions.
Before Messenger Platform rolled out widely, Facebook did test letting users message Miss Piggy, a character from The Muppets.
Another obvious hypothetical situation for a celebrity bot versus a business bot would be presidential candidates. Similar to how Google lets them publish directly to search results to make their views on specific issues easier to find, candidates could automate bots to send their views when prompted by users on Messenger.