Interesting elsewhere: Bring on the Bots

Here are a few links to things that have sparked my interest recently. More and more I find myself drawn to ideas and technologies that are about making data truly human-readable – but in some kind of of automated, artificially (not very) intelligent way. I’ve written about the ‘robo-reporting‘ and my thoughts on ‘conversational interfaces‘ and there is probably something else percolating around natural language search and bots – we’ll see.

http://www.wired.com/2015/08/slack-overrun-bots-friendly-wonderful-bots/ <– I bloody love Slack for all sorts of reasons. From its origins as a side effect of a failed product to the wonderful tone and language it employs but what I love most about it is the way it makes building simple, but useful (or at least funny), bots a breeze.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/introducing-censusamericans-a-twitter-bot-for-america/ <–Twitter bots are mainly just funny for 5 minutes and then annoying or go straight to annoying immediately – CensusAmericans though was/is a very clever idea – using US Census Bureau data to create little story snap shots of life in the US. Inspired me to at least try and work out how to build a Twitter Bot (I failed but it is the thought that counts!)

https://wit.ai/ <– Tom Martin pointed me at this service where they ‘turn speech or text into actionable data’. It is all a bit beyond my technical capability to really get my head around but it seems incredibly smart and potentially really useful. I just need someone smarter than me to have a play and tell me if it is all it promises😉

http://blog.wolframalpha.com/2010/09/24/stephen-wolfram-on-making-the-worlds-data-computable/ <– it is the Wolfram Data Summit this week and a few tweets about that got me looking at Wolfram Alpha again – well the stuff behind the scenes like the appliance and the dev stuff. Anyway it reminded me to re-read this post mainly because I liked the idea of 'making data computable' and it was the first time I read about the idea of an 'answer engine rather than a 'search engine'.

http://blog.ouseful.info/ <– last but not least Tony Hirst has, in his inimitable way, been churning out blogposts about his experiments in 'robo-reporting' – generating little stories from spreadsheets and datasets. It is really interesting to see a DIY, open approach to these concepts rather than the big enterprise options I wrote about before.

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