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These Apps Let Anyone Build a (Dumb) Chatbot

Global tech giants are betting on a chatbot future. A new class of startups is creating DIY tools to help make that happen.
1478050944_typing keyboard
Photographer: Dimitri Otis/Getty Images

I built a chatbot. It can only do a handful of things, and it's even dumber than the average chatbot. But it works, and I can talk to it through Facebook Messenger. More importantly, I'm not a coder.

Some of the world's largest technology companies are banking on a future where people will send text messages to airlines, banks, restaurants or stores and receive automated responses. Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp., IBM and Tencent each held events this year centered around promoting their bot-related initiatives to software makers. Twitter Inc. introduced chatbot-like functions with Pizza Hut and other brands on Tuesday to field customer service inquiries.