By Troy Strand
Pouring rain couldn’t stop the bot. Fifteen local enthusiasts came together April 19th at Intertech Headquarters in Eagan for BYOB: Build Your Own Bot — hosted by the MN Bot Makers Meetup. Some were seasoned developers while others were brand new to the chatbot scene.
The MN Bot Makers Meetup began a year ago this month with the purpose of creating a community to share and learn the latest in bot development and the artificial intelligence that powers them. The increased interest in bots is partly due to their ability to mimic human conversations through messaging services like Apple’s iMessage and Facebook Messenger, directing users to more information or completing purchases.
Because Facebook has integrated payment systems like Stripe and PayPal into its Messenger service, it’s now possible to create an entire commerce experience within chat.
Eli Krumholz, a freelance developer and MN Bot Makers organizer, explains the Slack Botkit to the room. Designed to be cloned and modded, Botkit is an easy first bot for developers to create and expand.
Developers from higher education, marketing, and filmmaking discuss the creation and potential uses for chatbots.
Remo Campopiano, a local artist and bot maker, shows his self-stabilizing robot to Jim Karg, a consultant at Intertech.