They started with Siri, the wonderful lady or gent you chat with on your iPhone who will never agree to marry you (it hurts us too), then through Google’s Assistant and Amazon Alexa you could chat with them and get them to help you out with useful things around the house like ordering your groceries and turning on your lights. We say this like it’s ancient history, but unbelievably this has all come about in the last two years or so!
Now, though, technology’s taken another step. Robots live on Facebook Messenger to help you out with all your day to day adulting, from helping you to decide if you need to take an umbrella out with you, to serious grown up stuff like managing your money. We’ve put together our favourites so you too can cheat at successful adulthood using chatbots:
This one isn’t very useful in everyday life, unless you really want to familiarise yourself with President Trump’s views on the world. It was built by creative agency SS+K and Dexter to encourage the younger generation to vote in the 2016 election.
The chatbot will talk to you about Trump’s views on all sorts of things, from Mexicans to women’s rights to, well, anything really, quoting speeches the now-President gave while on the election campaign and pairing them with beautifully flattering pictures of POTUS. If you ever need a Trump quote for anything — especially a work presentation — this is the bot for you.
OK, so now we’re getting more useful. A Hipster Cat Bot may not sound like the handiest thing to chat with on Messenger, but Mica has his uses. Share your location with the bot, and Mica will suggest cool places you might want to go nearby. You can ask about categories depending on what you fancy doing, like grabbing a burger, a coffee, a beer, a haircut… you name it, Mica can suggest something for you.
Plus, if you ask nicely (read: click the button), Mica will answer questions about his life as a cat, share cat facts, and load you up with all the cat cuteness you can handle. What’s not to love?
While we’re on a feline theme, say “Hi” to “Poncho” — your personalised weather assistant. I didn’t know cats were renowned for their intuition at predicting the weather, but you learn something new every day.
By sharing your location, Poncho will tell you what the weather is doing right now, and you can arrange for him to message you with regular forecasts at certain times of the day. You can even ask him questions, like “Do I need an umbrella today?” before you head out blindly and regret your decision. Functional adulting just got a smidge easier!
All functional adults need to keep on top of current affairs.
NewsBytes makes it easy, delivering you a daily digest of the top stories from around the world. You can search for the latest, or for a particular story, and pick up simple summaries that you can read quickly to make sure you’re covered for talking about a topic without making a total fool of yourself, or you can go in depth with the full stories on the stuff that’s really interesting.
Shameless self-plug time (#sorrynotsorry). We’re going to talk about ourselves — Plum. Plum is a chatbot powered personal savings assistant designed to make stashing cash little and often easy and painless. By hooking up your bank account, Plum will have a nosey at your transactions and squirrel small amounts away for you now and then. It’ll check in every few days and adapt to your spending patterns so it never leaves you short for your bills, and if you do fancy a splurge, you can get your money back out of your savings in under 24 hours.
Ah, holidays. Nothing beats procrastinating an afternoon away planning all the holidays you wish you could afford. Whether you’re planning a specific trip or just daydreaming, you can browse flights, hotels, and pick up destination inspiration. You can even search by your budget and see how far you can get for your money. For example, searching “Where can I go for £500?” will give you options from Spain to Myanmar to Pakistan. Never before was the world so much your oyster.
This one isn’t going to help you do anything in your day to day life that’s particularly useful, but it is good fun. The Persona Synthetics chatbot was created by Channel 4 as part of their ad campaign for the launch of the second series of hit TV show, Humans.
The Persona Synthetics bot appeals to people who are familiar with the show, so if you’ve not seen it, this’ll probably be lost on you and maybe you should skip down this post a bit to something more useful. The idea is that you report your “synth” to the chatbot as malfunctioning for tech support, but then it all goes a bit loopy. We don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s cool, and very, very clever.
Now you’ve sorted out your practical adulting, it’s time to take a bit of “you” time. Pepper is a wellness AI that functions a bit like a journal, but waaaaaaay less emo. Once a day, it’ll check in with you on how your day’s going/gone, and keep track of what you say and what reasons you give. You can even hook up a Fitbit and/or Google Calendar to see how your mood and wellness are affected by how active and busy you are.
The idea is that by tracking how you’re feeling and why, you’ll have greater awareness of what makes you happy vs what makes you stressed or sad or tired, so you can live your best life. Aww.