Google Patents a Social Media Robot

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News / 26 November 2013

Are you forever neglecting your social media channels? Are the floods of updates and messages just too time consuming? Can you even remember the last time you interacted with another user? Well, in the future you could avoid a diminishing online presence by handing over all of your social media commitments to a robot.
The software, which has been patented by Google, would analyse how you interact across all of your social channels. Collecting your information and logging your responses, statuses, notifications, links to other media and any messages you receive, the robot would learn how to mimic your reactions to create suggestions.
These suggestions would differ per social media channel, taking into account the kind of relationships you have with other users. For example, updates and response suggestions for the professional network LinkedIn would carry a more detached tone than a status update for friends and family on Facebook. The bot would also flag up messages that require a more personal response.
Response suggestions would be indistinguishable from a human reaction but users would still choose to agree or disagree for them to be posted on their behalf. Yet, examples of the software have shown that the idea still needs work and that the robot would find it hard to understand the differing levels of relationships between users on each channel.
Google software engineer, Ashish Bhatia has commented on the need for this type of robot: “The popularity and use of social networks and other types of electronic communication has grown dramatically in recent years. It is often difficult for users to keep up with and reply to all the messages they are receiving.”
Yet, if robots are to replace our human presence on social media then the ‘social’ is lost. Despite the misconception that communicating online is causing a decrease in the contact between people, these channels strengthen our contact between those that we know, encourage us to build relationships and to interact more. If there is to be nothing human to be found on these networks then they are sure to become something of a ghost-town, losing their value and their point completely!
Plus, could businesses really rely on a robot to manage such an important part of their online marketing?
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