Organizations have a number of sources for productivity, but bots look to be one of the most promising source for productivity. Bots that offer a friendly face / voice that are aimed at customer service seem to be the first off the launch pad, but there are more coming. They will be be both software and hardware aimed at assisting all of us humans. I for one am looking forward to it, even though my "Alexa" enabled Echo frustrates me at times. I am looking for organizations to serve me instead of them outsourcing their labor and keying to me. In fact over time, I won't be able to sense when a bot is serving me. (Other names for Bots are Agents, Cogs & Smart Services)
These pleasant bots really help in simple tasks such as looking up and responding to simple requests. I like just asking for a particular music group, the daily weather and the latest news. Since these are first generation complexity of the questions confuses them, but over time they will get better. Imagine if these bots would help me get service from an organization without me traversing their frustrating voice response systems of today. These kind of bots will make or break the bot movement. I do however, lose a wink of sleep or two to their ability to listen to all conversations and interject when they are not wanted (happens in rare situations). I think the risk is worth it.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots are usually under the covers doing dirty work for organizations or customers. Typically the kind of work that RPA does today is traversing different systems and data sources to come up with a integrated set of views and data necessary to support customer and business outcomes. As RPA matures, it will broaden in scope and increase productivity. It will likely start with the integration of user interface, systems and structured data. Over time RPA will reach to unstructured data and add analytics, machine learning, deep learning and grow to become the knowledge workers best friend in particular specialties.
Digital assistants will evolve like RPA and become smarter to the level of calling on other bots to resolve an inquiry, a specific goal or a complex set of outcomes. At first these assistants will bond to individuals or individual specialty work pools, but over time these assistants will be able to be general in their skill capabilities. There will still be deep specialty assistants, but the emergence of general purpose genius bots will happen too.
Bots are here to assist us and will be prospering in the foreseeable future. Will they take our jobs? I think they will be aimed at assistance unless the job is very low level. The challenge will be to find the sweet spot for these bots and the logical combination of many of them. I believe bots will free us up from drudgery. The balance of human / bot / machine will change over time and be one of the biggest challenges for the next decade.