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  • >> Narrator: Live from Austin, Texas, it's The Cube

  • covering South by Southwest 2017, brought to you by Intel.

  • Now, here's John Furrier.

  • >> Hey, welcome everyone back for day two

  • of live coverage of South by Southwest.

  • This is the cube, our flagship program from Silicon Angle.

  • We go out to the events and extract the (mumbles).

  • We're at the Intel AI Lounge, people are rolling in,

  • it's an amazing vibe here, South by Southwest.

  • The themes are AI, virtual reality,

  • augmented reality, technology.

  • They got great booths here, free beers, free drinks,

  • and of course great sessions and great conversations

  • here with the Cube.

  • My first guest of the day here is Ben Parr,

  • a friend of the Cube.

  • He's been an entrepreneur, he's been a social media maven,

  • he's been a journalist, all around great guy.

  • Ben, thanks for joining us today.

  • >> Thank you for having me again.

  • >> So you're a veteran with South by Southwest,

  • you know the social scene, you've seen the evolution

  • from Web 2.0 all the way to today, had Scobel on yesterday,

  • Brian Fanzo, really the vibe is all about

  • that next level, of social to connecting

  • and you got a startup you're working on

  • that you founded, co-founded called AI?

  • >> Ben: Octane AI.

  • >> Octane AI, that's in the heart

  • of this new social fabric that's developing.

  • Where AI is starting to do stuff, keep learning,

  • analytics but, ultimately, it's just a connection.

  • Talk about your company.

  • What is Octane AI?

  • Tell us a little bit about the company.

  • >> So Octane AI is a platform that lets you

  • build an audience on Facebook Messenger

  • and then through a bot.

  • And so, what we do is allow you

  • to create a presence on Messenger because

  • if I told you there was a social app

  • that had a billion users every month,

  • bigger than Snapchat plus Twitter plus Instagram combined

  • you'd want to figure out a strategy

  • for how to engage with those people right?

  • And that social app is Facebook Messenger.

  • And yet no one ever thinks,

  • oh could I build an audience on a messaging app?

  • Could I build an audience on Messenger

  • or WeChat or any of the others.

  • But you can through a bot.

  • And you can not just build an audience but you can

  • create really engaging content through conversation.

  • So what we've done is, we've made it really easy

  • to make a bot on messenger but more importantly,

  • a real reason for people to, actually,

  • come to your bot and engage with it

  • and make it really easy to create content for it.

  • In the same way you create content for a blog

  • or create content for YouTube Channel.

  • Maroon 5, Aerosmith, KISS, Lindsay Lohan,

  • 30 seconds to MARS, Jason Derulo

  • and a whole bunch more use us to build an audience

  • and engage their fans on Messenger.

  • >> So let me get your thoughts on a couple

  • of trends around this.

  • Cause this is really kind of, to me,

  • a key part that chat bots illustrate

  • the big trends that are going on.

  • Chat bots were the hype.

  • People were talking about, oh chat bots.

  • It's a good mental model for people to see AI

  • but it also has been, kind of, I won't say

  • a pest, if you will, for users.

  • It's been like a notification.

  • A notification of the economy we're living in.

  • Now you're taking it to the next level.

  • This is what we're seeing.

  • The deep learnings and the analytics

  • around turning notifications which can

  • be noisy after a while, into real content and connections.

  • >> Into something useful, absolutely.

  • Like look, the last year of bots.

  • The Facebook platform is not even a year old.

  • We've been in that fart apps stage of bots.

  • Remember the first year of mobile apps?

  • You had the fart app and that made

  • $50,000 a day and that was annoying as hell.

  • We're at that stage now, the experimentation stage.

  • And we've seen different companies

  • going in different, really cool directions.

  • Our direction is, how do you create compelling content

  • so you're not spamming people but you have content

  • that you can share, not just in your bot

  • but as a link on your social media

  • to your followers, to your fans, on Twitter,

  • everywhere else and have a scalable conversation

  • about whatever you want.

  • Maroon 5 has conversations with their audience

  • about their upcoming tours or they even

  • released an exclusive preview

  • of their new song, Cold, through our bots.

  • You could do almost anything with our bots

  • or with any bot.

  • We're just learning right now, as an industry,

  • what are the best practices.

  • >> So where do bots go for the next level?

  • Because you and I have known each other

  • for almost over 10 years,

  • we've seen the whole movement

  • and now we're living in a fake news era.

  • But social media is evolving where content now

  • is super important that glues

  • people together, communities together.

  • In a way, you're taking AI or bots, if you will.

  • Which is a first, I mean, .5 version of

  • where AI is going.

  • Where content, now, is being blended into notifications.

  • How important is content in community?

  • >> Content in community are essential to any product.

  • And I feel like when you hear the word bot,

  • you don't think community and that you could

  • build a community with it because it's a bot,

  • it's supposed to be automated.

  • But you, actually, can if you do it in the right way

  • and it can be a very, very powerful experience.

  • We're building features that allow

  • you to build more community in your bot

  • and have people who are talking with your bot

  • communicate with each other.

  • There's a lot of that.

  • What I feel like is, we're at the zero point one

  • or zero point two of the long scale of AI.

  • What we need to do right now is showcase

  • all the use cases that really work for AI,

  • bots, machine learning.

  • Over time, we will be adding

  • more other great technologies

  • from Intel and others that will make

  • all these technologies and everything we do better,

  • more social and most of all, more personalized.

  • I think that's one of the big benefits of AI.

  • >> Do you see bot technology or what bots

  • can turn into being embedded into things

  • like autonomous vehicles, AR, is there

  • a stack developing, if you will, around bots?

  • What you're talking about is a progression of bots.

  • What's your vision on where this goes down the road?

  • >> I see a bunch of companies, now, building

  • the technological stack for AI.

  • I see a bunch of companies building

  • the consumer interface, bots is one

  • of those consumer interfaces.

  • Not just chat bots but voice bots.

  • And then I see another layer that's more enterprise

  • that's helping make more efficient things

  • like recruiting or all sorts of automation or driving.

  • That are being built as well.

  • But you need each of those stacks

  • to work really well to make this all work.

  • >> So are there bots here at South by Southwest?

  • Is there a bot explosion, is there bots

  • that tell you where the best parties are?

  • What's the scene here at Southby?

  • Where are the bots and if there were bots,

  • what would they be doing to help people

  • figure out what to do?

  • >> The Southby bot is, actually, not a bad bot.

  • They launched their bot just before South by Southwest.

  • It has a good party recommendations and things.

  • But it the standard bot.

  • I feel like what we're seeing is the best use,

  • there's a lot of good bot people.

  • What I'm seeing right now is