‘Explain This Bob’ functions at the forefront of current trends, encompassing memes, social media, crypto and AI. Users can tag the bot on Twitter to request an explanation for a specific piece of information
Odisha-based developer Prabhu P Biswa developed the solution for coding practice and learning purposes a year ago
The AI bot’s rise to fame happened when Elon Musk said on Twitter that he loved ‘Bob’
While skimming through newspapers, many readers often tend to skip the finance and business sections due to the presence of core corporate lingo that is seldom used in everyday conversations. In today’s era of social media, where a good chunk of users ingests news through social media platforms, what happens when a reader just wants a simple answer for a complicated string of sentences?
For Odisha-based developer Prabhu P Biswal, the solution to this problem came in the form of his explain-it-all bot, which he initially developed for coding practice and learning purposes a year ago.
Speaking with Inc42, Biswal said that his bot, Explain This Bob, made its debut on social media with its first tweet on May 15, 2022. At the time, not many people were familiar with GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), the underlying technology behind the bot.
Biswal spent two weeks building the platform, and, as soon as it was thrown open to the world, users started using the bot to understand complicated finance-related tweets and sports-related content. Encouraged by the positive response, Biswal continued to expand his project further.
According to Biswal, the bot functions at the forefront of current trends, encompassing memes, social media, crypto, and artificial intelligence (AI). Users can easily mention the bot on Twitter to request an explanation for a specific piece of information. The bot promptly condenses the entire information into a concise paragraph that is easily understandable for the user.
Operating in stealth mode for some time, the bot garnered the attention of users worldwide, including the Tesla and Twitter boss, Elon Musk.
Bob’s Rise To Fame
‘Explain This Bob’ has been around for at least a year now, but it was only in April 2023 that the bot rose to prominence.
The bot’s claim to fame was unlocked after Elon Musk shared a tweet on April 20, responding to a Twitter user who criticised the microblogging platform’s fee for accessing APIs.
“I’m open to ideas, but ripping off the Twitter database, demonetising it (removing ads), and then selling our data to others isn’t a winning solution,” Musk tweeted.
With many left groping in the dark to understand the context, a user tagged ‘Explain This Bob’. Following this, the bot responded, “Twitter does not want to sell their database and the idea of taking away ads is not a good way to make money.”
This caught the attention of Musk, who promptly responded that he loved Bob.
Amid all this, Biswal told Inc42 that a group of people contacted him regarding a crypto deal. “They were super passionate about Bob and wanted to grow it together. That’s when $BOB started,” he added.
The bot announced the launch of its cryptocurrency, $BOB, on April 22, which, buoyed by Musk’s endorsement, saw its price and trading volume soar.
Musk’s comment triggered a bull run, and, in the next two weeks, $BOB’ price surged 4,744%, along with a reported 1,000% rise in unique holders and a 10X increase in trading volume. All signals pointed to the short-term popularity of the token, which capitalised on the back of the endorsement from Musk.
Although the token’s growth staggered in subsequent weeks, the bot itself continued to gain popularity, amassing over 3.98 Lakh subscribers on Twitter.
The Red Flags
Despite the impressive show, many are wary about the growth of the meme coins, which trace their origin back to an internet meme, Pepe the Frog.
Meme tokens are infamous for their volatile nature and a slew of such coins have emerged in the past few years such as Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, Pepe and FLOKI. While the bull run continued for a couple of weeks, its growth started to lose momentum soon.
From its record high of $0.00021819 on May 7, Bob coin lost more than 90% in value at the time of writing this article.
While Musk did not overtly praise the $BOB coin but the bot, his endorsements, especially in the crypto space, could pave the way for yet another controversy.
Earlier, too, his support to Dogecoin ended with a $258 Bn racketeering lawsuit that accused him of running a pyramid scheme to support the cryptocurrency.
Biswal’s Way Forward Is Clear As A Crystal
Despite the hiccups, Biswal has big plans for the bot, as he plans to explore new automated video and audio-related features for his creation.
He has already started working on developing different versions of Bob for other social media platforms such as Telegram, Discord and Reddit. Alongside this, he continues to add more functionalities and updates to the bot.
“Scaling Bob earlier was difficult due to monetisation issues. But with $BOB behind the scenes, I have a clear roadmap as the funding required to feed servers is no more an issue,” Biswal claimed, adding that his monthly server costs have zoomed from $50 a year ago to $4,000 now.
Moving on, ‘Explain This Bob’ has joined the list of OpenAI’s GPT-powered offerings, including the likes of Agent GPT and AutoGPT. However, going ahead, it would be interesting to witness how long this fad stays in shape.
As of now, with the pace expected to continue and competition intensifying between Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google’s Bard, the world is headed towards a new future with each passing day.