Users use their smartphones at ever shorter time intervals defined by Google as “micro-moments”. When we have a need or a curiosity we use our mobile device waiting for fast and consistent responses.

The study of customer journey together with data analysis allows companies to develop apps that anticipate user needs. These apps require user interfaces that dynamically adapt to the customer’s environment.

As a designer, I spent a lot of time designing graphic interfaces to meet this challenge. Today, however, we are in the process of an epoch-making change, applications are not on the brink of extinction, but the context in which they operate is changing rapidly. In the last few years the number of apps has increased swirlingly, their management has become increasingly expensive but, in reality, each of us uses only a few applications frequently.

The history of computer science has been characterized by the continuous removal of abstraction levels between machines and people; from the perforated boards we have moved on to the command line to the mouse pointer and multitouch. Interaction has been simplified in each step to get closer to people.

Today we are at the beginning of a post GUI period that over a decade will lead us to interact through voice, our natural way of communicating.

In this transition period messaging applications are becoming the new reference platform as when in the mid-1990s the browser replaced the desktop operating system. Human language is the new user interface and bots are new applications in the form of digital assistants. The intelligence behind the conversation is distributed across all interactions. From this point of view, bots can be considered as a third generation platform, after the web and mobile apps.

Instead of interacting with thousands of applications or sites, you can access a chat that will act as a catalyst for more actions. The rise of chatbots has been accelerated by increasing advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and voice platforms. It is changing the way it interacts and “invisible applications” will become the norm. Simply start your favorite messaging system, connect with a brand’s bot and start a conversation.

However, the interaction enabled by messaging apps is only at the beginning because there are still limits to the accuracy or efficiency of natural language processing. Suddenly we are marching into a new unexplored territory and conversations need to be redesigned, providing bots with the ability to interact graphically when text alone is not enough.

It is the beginning of a significant new way of communicating with computers. Bots can be chained to perform a sequence of actions, a bot can supervise other bots by creating hierarchies. We could use our own bot which as a personal assistant will be able to check other bots on our behalf according to our preferences. We are witnessing the emergence of a new platform on which we can build new experiences. It is a new world with so many opportunities and risks.

Massimo Falvo | CEO Impossible Minds