Wit.ai announced this morning in a blog post that it would be sunsetting its Bot Engine. The Facebook-owned company builds developer tools for natural language processing to help engineers build speech and text chatbots faster and with less technical experience.
Bot Engine launched as a beta in April of 2016. The tool let developers train their own bots using sample conversations sharing similar structure. These examples could stand in for real conversations and be updated with authentic conversation logs to fine-tune. The goal was to allow for the training of a flexible bot on dozens of conversations, instead of millions.
But the Engine was designed for text-only interactions and the bot ecosystem has matured so quickly that the technology has become outdated. The team notes that Messenger and other platforms have been adding new means of interaction beyond text. All of this is for the better, but it hasn’t been kind to the value-add of Bot Engine.
Wit.ai says that more than 100,000 developers use its services. But within that group, 90 percent of API calls are going to Wit’s NLP API. Bot Engine and the Stories UI will stay alive until February 1, 2018 to give developers time to migrate their apps.
Coincidentally, Facebook announced today it is integrating natural language processing tools into Messenger Platform 2.1. With the update, developers can extract from messages information like date, time, location, amount of money, phone number and email. Wit.ai can then be used to customize the capabilities of the Messenger Platform’s NLP integration.