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Chris Messina: Alexa leads the ‘god bot’ wars because Amazon gets the most interest from developers

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Roy Shannon
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A little over two years ago, before Facebook Messenger or iMessage opened to third-party bots, and before the arrival of Google Assistant, conversational AI champion Chris Messina helped coin the term “conversational commerce.”

Messina, who is perhaps best known as the creator of the hashtag, has since 2015 examined trends like chat apps surpassing social media in monthly active users, buzz among developers and investors, and unanswered questions, like how experiences created by third-party developers can attract attention in a conversational world.

Last year, Messina left his job as developer experience lead at Uber to explore opportunities in conversational AI.

Messina spoke with VentureBeat about the state of conversational AI, his new startup’s ambition to reimagine the value people derive from social media, and who’s winning the chat wars between Alexa, Siri, and the like, which he calls “god bots.”

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Messina: I think the insight I was trying to help people see was less about the interface and more about the programmatic technique of putting software behind the interface.

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