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Commentary: About the MoNage Conference

Posted April 12, 2017

On March 21 – 23, 2017 a conference on instant messengers and chatbots, organized by Jeff Pulver took place in San Jose, California. It was a great informative event in this field, which evoked many positive emotions in its participants and guests.

At this conference there were representatives of such giants as: Google, IBM, Facebook, Twillio, Cisco and others.

The Octaine, Pandorabots, Alterra and other platforms were also presented.

Investors, including Khosla Ventures, spoke. In general, 3 days of the conference were very productive and high-charged. The only thing you always regret about at the end is that you did not have time to communicate with everyone.

Highlights of the conference

First. Jeff’s speech was very impressive. He believes that we are entering a new era of communication. He calls this era Convosphere or the Internet of People. A characteristic feature of this era lies in the fact that people will communicate with machines using a human language. The movie “Her”, where the main character falls in love with his operating system. comes to mind at once. Of course, this is still far away, but the fact that it will greatly change the future seems to me already accomplished.

Second. Private investors and funds representatives, including Khosla Ventures took the floor too. They have already begun to select companies for their portfolio. This means that the interest in start-ups, dealing with artificial intelligence and machine learning, is picking up.

Third. The Pandorabots and Octaine platforms were presented, the creators of which told about their market as a whole. It is interesting that Octaine attracted more than 1.5 million dollars of private investments into its project.

Fourth. Bots-influencers, the bots, communicating with the audience on behalf of ordinary persons, were introduced. Nowadays personal chatbots are gaining popularity. Anyone can create their own chatbot to communicate with the audience. And this communication will be personal. This kind of chatbot has a special appeal to celebrities and public people. It is known that these people practically do not read comments to their posts and even less often react to them. So their fans and supporters lack personal communication with their idols. Any person can create a chatbot so that other people could communicate with him. We find this approach very promising for the future.

Fifth. Real cases of using chatbots, for example, for questioning customers and collecting feedback, were presented. Namely: Sephora’s business case: due to the new way of communication (via texting) with the customer the company understands much better the customer’s needs.

Sixth. It is worthwhile mentioning the speech of Amit Shafrir from Quiv, who told about the types of emoji and how to use them. I, personally, had no idea that the usual “no” could be written in so many different ways, and each case would have completely different connotation. If you want to get a master class on the topic: how to get acquainted via correspondence and how to conduct it, Amita is the best to tell you about it.

Seventh. An IBM representative’s speech was also attention-grabbing. As usual, we were presented an IBM super-brain. It’s amazing how many of everything they have in this system and how universal it is. At the same time, we think that IBM plays cunning when saying that it is easy to create a chatbot using their framework. Their demos on Youtube show that IBM offers the solution for developers, not for users, because it’s not  easy at all to create and configure one’s personal chatbot using IBM Watson.

Eighth. As it turned out many people nowadays preferred to communicate using messengers instead of emaiI or Skype. One of the managers of the Facebook project even joked or maybe didn’t, that if he had to use email, he would quit. In fact, this is a significant shift in the usual coordinates of communication.

In general, many conference participants agreed that this market was still young and its potential customers were still to be educated.

In conclusion I’d like to thank Jeff  Pulver for the great organization of the conference and wish him success in the future. Let the number of his associates and members of the chatbot community steadily grow!

Written by George Fomitchev, founder of

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