I think there's lots of potential in bots, whether it be just for fun or as first responder to customers needing help or prospects that could do with a nudge in the right direction etc.
I've been experimenting with some simple bots recently, currently Twitter focused but could just as easily be applied to other platforms. For example, go on to Twitter and post hi @womplify or for something a little seasonal try hi @womplify and mention st patricks day. The 'hi @womplify' part is what activates the bot and whatever comes after will alter the response, if any.. if you're really bored, you can also ask what time is it.
Those are trivial autoresponders and just for fun, but for something a little more useful, try posting something like can we talk? or I'd like to book a demo or I need help etc. I plan to add much more stuff there to match more types of requests, there's not much defined yet. There's also a real human behind the @womplify handle of course, it's not only a bot.
These are still very simple things, not smart AI bots, and anyone can build them in a few minutes using Womplify. It could easily be expanded though (and will be) to integrate with some AI service, or WolframAlpha or any other thing that can be hooked up through an API on the back end. Bots + Integrations can be really cool.
Note that in these examples, I class them as intentional bots, in that the human is intentionally sending a message to the bot (whether or not they know its a bot). Another form is of course bots that simply look for relevant posts anywhere, not directed at the bot or business, and then responds.. high potential for being classed as a spam bot in such a case but if used wisely, can be very effective.
The way things are going though, it wont be long before social networks and messaging platforms are entirely populated by bots talking to each other.. we may already be there!