But of the major tech companies, Google is virtually alone in this approach.Most have opted to present a strong human persona with clearly feminine voices, including Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana (only Siri lets you switch easily to a male voice).Chatbots – also known as “conversational agents” – are software applications that mimic written or spoken human speech for the purposes of simulating a conversation or interaction with a real person.

“Lots of use cases come from that motivation,” says Ilya Eckstein, CEO of Robin Labs whose bot platform helps truckers, cabbies, and other drivers find the best route and handle logistics.

“People want to flirt, they want to dream about a subservient girlfriend, or even a sexual slave.

Mortensen believes people will naturally gravitate toward humanizing their bots whether companies like it or not.

Most of x.ai’s users have already decided to refer to the bot as “him” and “her,” something Mortensen expected to take five years or more. Users also show a clear preference for the opposite sex when picking assistants: females tend to chose “Andrew,” while men select Amy (although the two speak in precisely the same way and both scripts are written by women at x.ai).

Today’s chatbots are smarter, more responsive, and more useful – and we’re likely to see even more of them in the coming years.

In this post, we’ll be taking a look at 10 of the most innovative ways companies are using them.

But others are playing out aggressive, degrading, and violent fantasies of control and domination.

There’s also a small number of lonely users desperate to find partners, even if they’re an AI, says Eckstein.

We’ll be exploring why chatbots have become so popular, as well as the wider, often-unspoken impacts these constructs promise to have on how we communicate, do business, and interact with one another online.

Before we get into the examples, though, let’s take a quick look at what chatbots really are and how they actually work.

“I don’t think as a industry we’ve agreed that to humanize our agents is the best thing to do,” says Dennis Mortensen of x.ai, which has built a successful scheduling bot available as Amy or Andrew Ingram.