Of course, bots can make more than just coffee. At KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, flight ticket booking can be supported by an algorithm; ShopBot browses on eBay on behalf of a user for rarities and bargains; the chatbot lawyer DoNotPay acts against traffic tickets for illegal parking; the bot from H&M, the world's largest clothing retailer, finds matching outfits based on a piece of clothing; Wordsmith transforms data into text; Digit helps save money; the bot Lisa seeks out new customers – and even cities need their own bots.
Even Mercedes-Benz has one, but so far not one that automatically answers emails for employees. And because the Facebook Messenger alone has more than 11,000 bots, it needs its own web directories, called botlists, to find a suitable bot. Chatbots may have their origins back in the 60s, but their heyday is the present. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, IBM – they and many other companies are all vying to be the universal platform for all types of bots. They are sure that bots will replace apps. But if the latest CES in Las Vegas has proven one thing, it is that bots controlled by Amazon's Alexa are the next big thing.