Are Bots the new Command Prompt?

Federico Haag
3 min readAug 16, 2017


Why they won’t become what you are thinking — not now

In the latter period, I’m reading more and more about chatbots and how they will be the center of new businesses. They told us that they are the future, they are growing and they are even becoming more intelligent than us!

Here the two main chatbots’ purposes presented in these months:

  1. replace human-customer service
  2. empower actual “complex” software

Why chatbots are not ready yet

I want to speak to other people because I want CLARITY

Think about the last time you called a call center for an important issue: I’m sure you wanted to speak with a human because it was essential that the other speaker had completely understood all of your’s needs. You don’t want that someone understands 8 words out of 10 and gives you an answer based on those 8 words while maybe that two words were somehow crucial.

✋Heads-up! Actually, bots work like this: they try to get the right meaning of the message recognizing previous inserted — or learned — patterns. Remember that they don’t understand the language!

I LOVE having another person dedicated — even for a short time

Have you ever called the Amazon customer service?

An operator is always 1 minute far from you and has available everything you need, in order to fix every type of problem.

After the call ended, you receive an email as a summary of the call. Yeah, I know that the received email is a puzzle of pre-written sentences, but, even if I know that, I appreciate it, because every time there is something that let me understand that the operator took some seconds to personalize for me that message.

Why? Because whether you like it or not, humans like having someone (a person, not a robot) taking care of them ;) Easy as that.

Why chatbots are not so “intelligent”

Chatbots actually present on the market are only a “remastered” command prompt — nothing more.

Comparison of a windows “command prompt” and windows with “graphical user interface”

If you are not a hacker and you are not so old, maybe you’ve never used the command prompt. You probably have seen it in a film during a “hacking scene” and you think that is something weird. Ok, you should know that sometimes ago, the Desktop as you know now, did not exist, and the only way to “talk” with the computer, was this black window.

You had to write everything you needed: to open and edit a picture, for example, you have to write:

imageedit C:/Users/Federico/Documents/Images/seaside.png

Nowadays common users don’t do that to edit a picture, but easily use Desktop: click on the folder with the mouse, and choose from the right-click-menu the program to edit pictures.

The picture you saw before, it’s crucial: it took years to create a completely graphical environment to avoid users handling the command prompt.

Now, what they want to make us think as a “revolution” is having an intelligent assistant (like Cortana, Siri) and replace our nice and fast sequence of click-folder, with:

“hey cortana, please open the picture seaside.png from my personal images with the program to edit pictures”

You will be able to say that with your voice, but maybe you won’t because you will be in a crowded place or maybe you just don’t want to end the day with a sore throat. So you will write that! Welcome back to the 90's!

My conclusions

This is obviously a provocative post.

I’m not saying that chatbots won’t be useful and they are not a revolution.

When we will be able to create a software able to handle perfectly a human conversation (and when I say perfectly, I mean 100%, not less), then business will have a new great and powerful instrument to strengthen their products. But until then, please:

  1. don’t call “intelligent bot” an if-then-else sequence of code
  2. don’t use a chatbot with “artificial intelligence” to create an ordering pizza app: no intelligence is needed, just a bunch of button with the ingredients pictures