Bots are everywhere around the internet. They chat with you posing as customer service reps, they reply to your comments on Reddit and even live on your smartphone as your personal assistant et al the Siri and Cortana. These software bots are designed to do automated tasks and repetitive works. As in the case of Siri they can gather information from around the web and your phone and present it to you.
Today we will look at one such bot which can pull information from Wikipedia and do other stuff, all through Whatsapp.
Disclaimer: Wikipedia doesn’t have any official bot and the bot being used here is of Duta, which aggregates stuff from the web, based on your queries. While they claim they don’t spam you (in my experience they didn’t), the way in which this works means they can see your mobile number. So, use your discretion before proceeding.
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Setting up the Bot
Let’s see how to set up the bot.
Step 1: First of all go to their site and save the number given there in your phonebook with a suitable name. In case the first number doesn’t work, you can get a backup number from here.
Step 2: Next, you will need to create a group with the bot as it doesn’t respond to direct chat. You can be the only participant in the group and can also add other friends and contacts. The bot will reply to all the participants in the group. Next, we will take a look at the commands that can be given.
Step 3: There are over 20+ commands that can be issued but the important ones, which are not country specific, are as follows:
If the bot doesn’t reply even after receiving your messages (much like your crush) check their website to see if they have changed numbers.
Telegram – The better Platform for Bots
Whatsapp doesn’t like bots, so much so that it violates their terms & conditions if you make a bot for their platform. They have shut down many such bots in the past. Telegram, on the other hand, explicitly supports and loves bots. They have a bot-store where you can pick bots of your liking. Also, there is no setup involved, download the Telegram app, register with your number and then add the bots you like from here.
Some of the examples of how elegantly the bots function in Telegram.
It also has a Wikipedia Bot but it doesn’t work as the Whatsapp one, fetching only the links instead of content.
Bots Can be Idiots Sometimes
Bots are really fun, great in helping us & being our personal assistant. But till now they haven’t achieved the level of sophistication in morality and emotions. And we have the latest example of a bot failing miserably, Tay, the Microsoft developed bot with a teenage mind. Within the span of a few hours after it was launched on Twitter, it starting fuhrer-ing the Nazi propaganda and Microsoft had to shut it down before it ventured into other dark territories.
If Tay is an example of the limits of intelligence of current bots, we don’t have to worry about an invasion because Skynet, if turned on, will probably shitpost online and get into petty fights on Twitter. That said, do share your thoughts and comments with us.