Chatbots are all the rage, and dubbed to be the next great thing after messenger apps. For now, their implementation is hit or miss, but mostly miss, so it is intriguing to see Samsung splurging to acquire the artificial intelligence startup Fluenty that is working on a machine-learning chatbot. Samsung invested part of its 100 million won (US$918,000) startup accelerator program in it last year, and is now only fitting that it snaps the potential before anyone else.
Needless to say, Samsung may be entering that play to make a Bixby-branded chat buddy, hedging its bets in case these things take off more successfully than, say, dorky voice-controlled assistants that only a small slice of phone owners use on a regular basis. The value-adding feature of Fluenty, though, and the one that sets it apart from the competition, is that it would work within most messengers you already have on your phone, even with the stock text messaging one, but also with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, KakaoTalk, or Google Hangouts, for instance.
Its specialty is replying with short, "cleverly brilliant" messages, so that it looks like you are chatting with a slightly snarky know-it-all. Whatever Samsung makes out of it, Fluenty is a pretty promising idea, so we are rooting for it to join Bixby on the Galaxy phones soon, and give the artificially intelligent competition a run for their money. Unfortunately, Fluenty is a Korean-made app, so it might not be available to install from the Play store in your country just yet.