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Viewpoint: All I want this festive season... is my own chatbot!

Read time 1min 50sec
Ocular Technologies toys with the idea of having a well-educated chatbot on Web sites that makes gift decisions for users.
Ocular Technologies toys with the idea of having a well-educated chatbot on Web sites that makes gift decisions for users.

With more consumers heading the online route for their silly season spending, imagine how awesome and useful it would be if every site had a well-educated chatbot that served its magic like an elf when making gift decisions.

Imagine if there was someone we could go to with questions when we were totally perplexed on what to give as a gift to an aunt, teacher, niece or nephew this year? Imagine just going online and asking: "My six-year-old nephew loves Ninjago, but already has numerous LEGO kits - what else can you recommend?" or "My aunt loves to cook: what cool gadget in the price range of RX can you recommend?" or even just typing in personality traits.

And also, for those who like to cram their festive season shopping and then, alas, realise that the delivery time is more 2018 than 2017 - imagine being able to ask which closest brick and mortar shop has the desired item, just by using geo-location? Best yet would be being armed with the knowledge of how many items are in stock so that the trip is not in vain (hello IOT)!

The good news (for dedicated online shoppers like me) is that the majority of online retail stores already employ chatbots and, with AI technology quickly evolving, these chatbots will soon step up and become more humanlike, with the ability to recommend individual gifts to individual people. Some may say this takes the fun out of the perusal and giving of a gift, but for someone who has faced the frustration of staring at numerous options and just not having a clue - chatbots are the most brilliant gift this season. Santa's little helpers just became real!

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