The number of apps downloaded since the emergence of smart-phones is now more than 150 billion - but bots running various levels of artificial intelligence could soon take their place.
Unlike apps, bots can offer a seamless and user-friendly interface serving the majority of computing needs for consumers, and a single bot interface could replace several or potentially most apps that a user would ever need.
Already, bots power most WeChat and Facebook Messenger messages, and in the future users will be able to use bot interfaces instead of downloading apps for services such as shopping or banking.
Bots also allow programmers greater freedom to create better code compared to the writing of apps, most of which don't generate significant royalty payments for developers.
Bots are becoming more viable thanks to rapid advances in artificial intelligence and the growing pools of data companies have at their disposal.
Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, as well as newer firms such as Slack and HipChat and start-ups like Begin, Growbot, Butter, Wisdom, and Operator are fuelling the development and adoption of AI bots. Explore the Trend: Bots, a priority in customer relations