When people hear about artificial intelligence, they have one of two responses: they are terrified of a Skynet dystopia, or they are excited for the new possibilities afforded by machine learning and robotics.
While 2017 will not be the year that humanoid, Westworld-esque robots work alongside us or take over all of our jobs, we will definitely be seeing an even smarter circulation of "alternative facts".
We will see greater capabilities from AI in facilitating business processes such as services, software delivery and IT infrastructure changes.
Google has built a hub for chatbots to fetch information from the net, Freshdesk acquired Chatimity to strengthen its customer service chatbot capabilities, and Microsoft has had another bash at its AI chatbot with Zo.
In process flow scenarios, ChatOps bots will be more fluid in enabling processes using simple commands.
You could write something like "I need help with ticket 6876 from network, database, and payment processing," and all necessary information would be pulled for you, from across all relevant systems.
Your request and any subsequent actions would automatically be logged in a record-keeping system.
The chatbot automatically polls your office for what food they want, sends around a menu, and workers add what they want to a group cart.
The integration puts the chatbot in places like Slack and Facebook Messenger, where people already spend much of their time.
As Kip is an AI penguin and not a human, it can have multiple conversations at the same time and collect orders for all team members, puts them in a cart for review and a one-tap checkout.
Communications platform xMatters has predicted that virtual assistants will advance from novelties, status symbols, and small conveniences to indispensable business tools.
It says that a large part of this progress will be driven by advances in natural language processing and better user interface options for communication.
The company also reckons that we will be able to use contextually driven commands to instigate more complex and useful automatic processes.
Unfortunately, there are downsides to the benign chatbot assistant. During the presidential election campaign an army of automated chatbots, inundated Twitter with propaganda and fake news.
Although sites such as Facebook are using AI to find fake news and offensive live video, the problem will still persist so that Facebook can still allow its users to share opinions and content.
It will be a while yet before we believe how much AI chatbots can help us. We already question influencer authenticity when we see overtly sponsored posts by human celebrities.
Although chatbots are creeping in to our work and home lives, fake news propagation means we will continue to mistrust their information until we no longer notice they are there.