Reminiscent of GPTs, I built my first set of bots in 2003 at Verizon. My biggest sponsors were Shaygan Kheradpir, Fari Ebrahimi, Hammad Azzam, Dr. Rami El-Youssef and Mahmoud ElAssir, my leaders and mentors at Verizon. The bots served different functions: one was for interacting with systems monitoring, the other was for general corporate and web information, and others were for particular purposes. The concept of chatbot was not common in the workplace at the time. Hence, there were no “business proposals,” “business requirements,” or “teams.” It was an individual effort, but with the support of my leadership. The bots were built over IBM Sametime Messaging, a subset of IBM Lotus Notes. I was careful not to work on those bots during my regular working hours because I had my day-to-day job as a software engineer/supervisor. It was more of a moral obligation to ensure the bots would not hinder my job. I would work on the bots in the early dawn or night and over the weekends. I did not know what agile meant then, but I worked in an iterative fashion using user feedback. I would create new features and add a feedback command to gain insight from the users. I learned to keep statistics and built short circuits in the code in case of failures. I even wrote agents that monitor and restart the bots automatically when necessary. I took advantage of the idle servers in our servers lab to maximize availability with zero downtime and zero impact. The bots stayed running for over 12 years without any significant problems. Thousands of Verizon employees would use them daily. They became part of the workplace culture at my employer until I had to put them down to sleep because my responsibilities changed significantly, leaders changed, and it was no longer worth fighting for their survival. Those bots were my love for building chatbots. I am so happy to witness a global interest in chatbots. It brings back all pleasant memories. #verizon #chatgpt #bots INFOCOM AI

My Bots