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CHATBOTS EXPLAINED: Why businesses should be paying attention to the chatbot revolution (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

bii chatbot ecosystem

Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes. 

Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact. We outline the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, look at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer. 

The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, we compare the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

Here are some of the key takeaways:Chatbots Explainer Report Cover

  • AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
  • Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
  • The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies. 
  • Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.  

In full, the report:

  • Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots.
  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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Here are the 5 most important things I learned at racing school (F)

Ford Track Attack Racing School

I went to Utah recently to drive the $400,000 Ford GT supercar — a rare privilege as only 250 will be built in 2017 — but the day before I hit the road and the racetrack, Ford put me through its one-day Performance Racing School program.

For eight hours, I received high-level on-and-off track instruction from professional drivers. We had at our disposal the 526-horsepower Shelby GT350 (the single-day course is offered for free to any new owner of a Ford Performance vehicle).

I learned a lot. But here were my five biggest takeaways:

SEE ALSO: Here’s what you learn at Ford’s Track Attack racing school that’s free for some customers

1. Nobody except a pro driver is a pro driver.

Being taught to drive better on track is a humbling experience. I’ve tracked numerous cars, but the pros who’ve been doing it since they were little kids in go-karts and who have actually raced for money are about 50,000 miles above me in terms of ability.

I’m not fit to sit in the same car with them, much less a track-ready beast like the 526-horsepower Shelby GT350. That said, they’re the best at figuring out what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it.

At the Ford Performance Racing School, by the end of a day of driving and learning, you get a hot lap with one of the instructors. This will and should boggle your mind. I can drive fast. But a pro driver drives fast on an entirely different plane.

2. Driving hard and fast is for the racetrack — not the road.

Ford offers a day at its Performance Racing School — located at Utah Motorsports about a half-hour from Salt Lake City — for all new owners of Shelbys, Focus RS and STs, Raptor pickups, and Fiesta STs so that they can fully explore their cars’ capabilities.

In the case of the GT350, the capabilities are mind-boggling. (I’ve also tracked a Focus RS, and its capabilities are also mind-boggling, just in a different way.)

If anything, the way these cars can be pushed near their limits on a track should remind you that they shouldn’t be pushed anywhere near their limits on the public roads. 

That’s a big takeaway: speed is seductive, but it’s dangerous and needs to be controlled. The FPR instructors stress safety, safety, safety. So, of course, you’re wearing a racing suit, helmet, and are strapped in with a four-point harness the whole time. 

Speed is for the track, not the road.

3. You have $1 to spend — and not a penny more.

This might have been my favorite piece of wisdom, dispensed by instructor Charlie Putnam as he was explaining why you should only attempt a pass except on a straightaway and with the cooperation of your fellow driver (at our level). 

Putnam gave the example of a driver coming into a corner right before a long straight preparing to pass a car in front of it. The driver is steering, braking, and preparing to get hard back on the throttle.

But a driver can only use 100% of any of those inputs. If you’re using 50% steering, you only have 50% left over for braking and throttle.

The driver who wanted to pass forgot this rule. He had “a dollar to spend,” as Putnam put it, but because he went too hard back on the throttle while still spending some of his buck on steering, he went over $1 — more like $1.30.

Crash! Luckily he was OK.

It was a great lesson. Performance driving is all about balancing the inputs. Overdo it on any of the inputs and you’ll lose the car. At best, you’ll have to correct, costing you time on a lap. At worst, you crunch your car. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon is preparing to launch checkout-free supermarkets in the UK (AMZN)

amazon go

Amazon has trademarked the slogan “No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK.

The official trademark was filed by the Seattle-headquartered company on May 11 and published on May 19.

The move, first spotted by Bloomberg, suggests that the ecommerce giant intends to launch its Amazon Go supermarket in the UK in the near future, going head-to-head with the likes of Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsburys.

Amazon Go stores feature technology that allows shoppers to simply walk in, grab what they want, and leave.

Amazon opened its first Amazon Go test store in Seattle earlier this year. The cashierless store uses a range of sensors and a smartphone app to know what customers have purchased.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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The 21 best science movies and shows streaming on Netflix that will make you smarter

Michael Pollan cooked

Sometimes, the best way to spend a long weekend or a hot summer day is to curl up on the couch and enjoy a film.

If you’re looking for something entertaining and beautiful that’ll also make you knowledgeable, there’s an incredible variety of science- and nature-focused documentaries and TV episodes streaming on Netflix right now.

You can find compelling documentaries that’ll captivate you with the beauty of the planet, you can delve into the details of how food arrives on your plate, or you can explore the mysterious and alien world that exists in oceans around the globe.

But there’s a downside to all of that choice: It’s a lot to choose from. So to make it easier, we’ve asked our colleagues to pick out some of their favorites from the Netflix documentary selection.

Here are our favorites, listed in no particular order:

Films come and go from Netflix every month, but as of the date of publication, all these films should be available on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: 24 health ‘facts’ that are actually wrong

“Cooked” (2016)

What it’s about: Journalist and food expert Michael Pollan explores the evolutionary history of food and its preparation in this four-part docuseries through the lens of the four essential elements — fire, water, air, and earth. 

Why you should see it: Americans as a whole are cooking less, relying more on unhealthy, processed, and expensive and prepared foods. Pollan aims to bring viewers back to the kitchen by forging a meaningful connection to food and the joys of preparation. [Click to watch]

“Blackfish” (2013)

What it’s about: This film highlights abuses in the sea park industry through the tale of Tilikum, an orca in captivity at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Tilikum has killed or been involved in the deaths of three people while living in the park. 

Why you should see it: This documentary opens your eyes to the troubles of keeping wild animals in captivity through shocking footage and emotional interviews, highlighting potential issues of animal cruelty and abuse when using highly intelligent animals as entertainment. Sea parks make billions of dollars off of keeping animals captive, often at the expense of the health and well-being of its animals. This documentary played a huge role in convincing SeaWorld to stop their theatrical “Shamu” killer whale shows. [Click to watch]

“Particle Fever” (2013)

What it’s about: This documentary follows six scientists as they prepare for one of the biggest and most expensive experiments in history: recreating conditions from the Big Bang with the launch of the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. Their aim is to unravel the mysteries of the universe and the origins of matter.

Why you should see it: Physics is often considered a forbiddingly dense subject, but ‘Particle Fever’ gives you a window into physics without breaking your brain. It documents the discovery of the famous Higgs boson particle that many physicists think holds the key to understanding the universe. Instead of getting bogged down with the complexities of particle physics, the film focuses more on the human drama of the discovery, and how it could change our understanding of the world around us. [Click to watch]

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tesla’s former Autopilot head is launching a self-driving-car company — and it could have a big advantage

chris Urmson

It’s not particularly shocking to see a new startup pop up at this point in the lucrative race to develop self-driving-car tech.

But it is noteworthy to see one that boasts the star engineers behind Google’s and Tesla’s respective projects as its leaders.

Aurora Innovation is a new startup led by Chris Urmson, the former head of Google’s autonomous car team, and Sterling Anderson, the former director of Tesla Autopilot. Drew Bagnell, Uber’s former autonomy and perception lead, has also joined Aurora as CTO.

Aurora plans to develop the hardware, software, and data services necessary to build an autonomous driving platform — a similar approach to Uber and Waymo, the self-driving venture spun out of Google’s parent company.

The startup doesn’t plan to take on the tech giants when it comes to complex hardware like lidar, a key sensor that helps vehicles detect objects, which has become the focal point of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo.

But it does plan to work directly with Tier 1 suppliers to design the best sensors to feed their algorithms that will create the car brain. Aurora is still in early stages, however, and is currently hiring and collecting data with an Audi Q7.

aurora innovation audi q7

At first glance, Aurora seems to be taking the same tactic as most self-driving startups in Silicon Valley.

Automakers have spent millions on relatively unknown ventures as part of an effort to bulk up on artificial intelligence experts. The practice gives engineers the cash cushion to pursue their ideas while carmakers secure the talent necessary to compete with Tesla and Waymo on software.

But Anderson told Business Insider that Aurora is not another Cruise Automation, a driverless car startup snatched by GM for $581 million.

“We’re not for sale,” Anderson said. “We intend to enable the entire industry and we wouldn’t be able to do that if we were owned by a single OEM.”

Aurora plans to work directly with automakers through non-exclusive partnerships, Anderson said.

Aurora was officially formed in January and was operating in stealth mode until a Tesla lawsuit broke news of the venture’s existence. The lawsuit, which alleged Anderson had poached Tesla employees to work at Aurora, was settled in April.

The startup has $6.5 million so far to work with through self-funding and a small financing round. The company plans to launch a Series A at some point this year.

The self-driving-car space is getting crowded as more startups, like AutoX, jump into the ring to build a solution for automakers that desperately need the software talent.

“I think right now the industry is kind of prickly. I think there’s a lot of anxiety right now,” Anderson said.

Although some loose alliances have been formed, like Fiat Chrysler’s work with Waymo, several automakers are still looking to align with Silicon Valley to ramp up their internal autonomous driving efforts. Ford expressed such an interest when it named Jim Hackett, the executive that had been overseeing its self-driving-car efforts, as CEO of the entire company.

“Those who build cars will continue to build cars for a long time. I don’t see that changing,” Anderson said. “At the same time, expertise in software development and self-driving [is] one place where folks like our team are uniquely qualified.”

SEE ALSO: Panasonic is making a massive bet on electric cars — here’s why the US CEO says it’s a ‘slam dunk’ investment

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Check out the super-luxe SUV Bentley created specifically for falconry

Bentley Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner (36)

Sure, Ferraris and Lamborghinis are awesome. But can they host a trained bird of prey?

Sadly, no. The new Bentley Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner, however, can.

“Hand-crafted by Mulliner – Bentley’s personal commissioning division – the Bentayga Falconry features a bespoke installation in the rear which houses all the equipment required for an enjoyable falconry expedition,” the carmaker said in a statement.

The Falconry treatment for the $230,000-and-up-ultra-luxury SUV adds everything the well-heeled falconer requires.

“At the heart of the Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner are two individual natural-cork-fabric-trimmed units: a master flight station and a refreshment case,” Bentley said. “These sit on a movable tray that allows for easy access. Inside the master flight unit is a special Piano Black veneered drawer – with a Saker falcon crest – containing bespoke storage for all the equipment required for this unique sport.”

According to Bentley’s Geoff Dowding, who runs Mulliner: “The Bentayga Falconry showcases what’s possible with our skilled craftspeople. They can devise elegant and exquisitely executed bespoke solutions to compliment any lifestyle or hobby.  Falconry is regarded as the sport of kings in the Middle East, so it was vital that the kit we created was as luxurious as it was practical and durable to appeal to our valued customers there and around the world.”

Let’s take a closer look:

SEE ALSO: Bentley’s Bentayga is the first of a new kind of hyper-luxury SUV

Where else would you want to let your falcon ride?

The Bentayga is Bentley’s first SUV. It’s haute luxury, tipping the price scales at $230,000 to start.

The Falconry setup has everything the accomplished falconer requires.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

IGNITION 2017: LAST DAY to lock in extra-early-bird rates

IGNITION past speakers

IGNITION: Future of Media will take place November 29-30 in New York City

Business Insider’s flagship event, IGNITION 2017: The Future of Media, is just six months away. TODAY is the last day to save $1,000 with advanced registration.

In years past, the most innovative minds across media and technology haven taken the stage to share their insights into where their fields were headed, as well as offering actionable insights to those in attendance.

Along with the marquis names who headline the event — like Jeff Bezos in 2014 and Arianna Huffington last year — dozens of other senior executives have offered their thoughts on the shifting digital landscape.

Whether your focus is content, product, technology, advertising, revenue, or anything else in in the media world, you are guaranteed to relate to our speaker lineup this year.

LAST DAY TO CLAIM YOUR $1,000 DISCOUNT

Now you have a chance to secure your ticket at a 25% savings with the extra-early-bird rate. That’s a $1,000 discount, so don’t delay, and make sure you lock in this rate before this offer disappears TONIGHT!

Join us at IGNITION!

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