In 2017, we’ll see the increasing democratisation of AI Bots for customer and marketing support purposes, as novice AI Bot-building tools that integrate into social media platforms become more advanced and accessible.

Key changes include the growth of chatbots, the newest and soon-to-be primary channel for customer engagement, which will transform the way people and computers interact.

The biggest challenge for AI Bots in 2017 will be monetization. Expect to see subscriptions, conversational commerce, micro-transactions, and hyper-targeted advertising as bot makers scramble to turn bots into profit.

We will see more and more bots outside of Facebook and other major platforms. We will also start seeing bots that will interact with users through a live interface and in real-time.

Internal business support functions will be the first areas to be disrupted by AI Bots, these are the areas that businesses will want to experiment and learn without suffering brand damage when teething problems pop up.

Bots are getting so good it’s hard to know when you’re talking with one. Some genius will find a clever way to say “I am a bot, how can I help you?”

We expect to see more adoption of smart chatbots in the role of customer support and information dissemination. We are also seeing interest from smart city projects, telecommunications and other service providers.

The adoption of AI Bots will increase as more people get introduced to conversational user interfaces through voice activated assistants like the Amazon Echo. The Echo was a top seller this holiday season, signaling a broader trend in user behavior.

AI Bots will become more accessible and increasingly better at dealing with natural language processing (i.e. day to day language with all its quirks). Chatbots in travel and Telco phone helplines are paving the way of this trend.

I can see AI Bots as being critical to automating how to gather key data and route to operators to reduce resolution time and improve customer experience.

By the end of the year AI Bots will begin to be a common occurrence in everyday tasks, like ordering the shopping, booking flights or mobile search.