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This chat bot pretends to be you so you can keep up with your friends

TechCrunch TechCrunch 8/05/2016 Jon Russell

Too busy to keep up with your friends? There’s a chat bot for that.

We’ve all been there. The deluge of information on Facebook is why I no longer bother to check the social network — because, even when I try my hardest, I miss the important announcements like baby births and marriage proposals. The growth of messaging apps helped here for a while. People broke out into groups where they make announcements and stay in touch, but now that chat apps are used by almost everyone, there’s a lot more information and it becomes impossible to read everything. So, once again, I miss most of my friends’ news and updates, but, added to that, they know I’m not reading or taking part in the discussion like I should be.

That’s where The Chat Bot Club, one of the projects from the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in New York this weekend, wants to help. It allows you to create a bot of yourself, which interacts and talks to your friends like you but without you having to do so.

In other words, they think you’re there and paying attention, even though you (read: me!) are often not.

Jersey resident Irene Chang came up with the idea after finding it impossible to keep up with her friends and their group chats on Facebook Messenger. The Chat Bot Club uses Cisco Spark and IBM Watson to run bots which learn your style — such as favorite phrases, emojis of choice, etc — and mimic it in groups.

The Chat Bot Club is initially a working concept which was created in just over a day at the hackathon. It isn’t ready for your usage yet, but Chang plans to integrate APIs add support for services like WeChat, WhatsApp, Kik, Facebook Messenger and others.

One thing I’d love to see added is a daily digest — some kind of report which gives me the down-low on what news and chatter my bot has seen each day. But, until then, you’d need to go back and recap the discussions to get that information.

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