We can all turn into Iron Man thanks to bots, says the inventor of the hashtag

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Bots can combine our abilities with technology turning us into real-life versions of Iron Man, according to one developer.

Chris Messina was formerly a developer at Uber, but most people know him as the inventor of the hashtag. His latest project is MessinaBot, a Facebook Messenger bot which he launched last June. He spoke about his bot at SapientRazorfish Innovation Day at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas on Sunday.


It's still early days and bot abilities are very limited, Messina admitted. Bots also get a lot of negative coverage in the press, like how they can be used to scalp tickets or troll people online. However, if people understand how it can augment their lives, Messina believes more people will open to the idea of bots.

MessinaBot has become an extension of his personality, telling people he's "chatting" with about the events he's speaking at as well as his favorite cocktail recipes. More than 5,000 people have messaged him, leading to 19,000 chat sessions.

"People will actually will interact with your personal bot if you tell them about it," he said. "They didn't think it was weird."

People can chat with MessinaBot on Facebook Messenger whenever they want.
MessinaBot on Facebook Messenger

More importantly, MessinaBot gives its creator the ability to complete "superhuman" tasks. It can store exact conversations which is a better record than memory, he said. MessinaBot has sent more than 320,000 messages since it launched, more emails than he could have sent during the same time period. It can anticipate where people are going to be, while our current location-based GPS can only tell where we are right now, Messina said.

"I'm happy I have my own personal bot, and if you get one, people get personal envy," Messina said.

Clarification: The number of people who messaged MessinaBot has been clarified.