Not many people outside of the tech world know what a chatbot is, but they are about to. A technology that is making everyone’s life more efficient, is expanding at an exponential rate. The use of a chatbot ranges from assisting someone in ordering a pizza, to allowing CEOs to install this intelligence in their business, which in turn lets them pull resources from mundane tasks and put them on more focused projects. The benefit of this technology is vast; giving greater, more in-depth customer insight and engagement. Chatbots are at the forefront of changing how businesses operate, utilizing the brilliance of artificial intelligence. But this growth would not be possible without the minds behind the technology – especially a few that are leading the pack. Here are eight chatbot entrepreneurs who are changing the way we do business.

Mariya Yao

A graduate of Duke University, Yao studied computer science and mathematics. She is now the CTO and head of research and design at TopBots, a strategy and research firm focused on applied artificial intelligence, as well as machine learning. As head of research and design, Yao is tasked with translating arcane technical developments into applicable domaine knowledge of business leaders and executives. She then works with these leaders to implement this technology in a way that people will love to use it.

Adrien Schmidt

Schmidt is the CEO and co-founder of Bouquet, a company that brings a fulfilling experience of analytics to thousands of users in their daily jobs with chatbots powered by A.I. With a passion for startups, Schmidt first co-founded Squid Solutions in 2004 in Paris, a software company that provides usage analytics to publishers. The company subsequently expanded to Beijing and San Francisco. Schmidt is widely praised for being dedicated to making big data accessible to users of AI.

Adelyn Zhou

Joining Mariya Yao at TopBots as co-founder and CMO is Adelyn Zhou, a leader in the AI and Bot community. Having spoken at such prestigious conferences and institutions as SXSW, Launch Festival, 500 Startup and DLD, Yao has also been hailed as one of the top 30 people in AI and one of the top 10 people in Bots. Yao is also a frequent contributor to Forbes, Inc., Wired and VentureBeat, using these publications to educate the masses on the emerging technologies (AI and bots) for business application.

Murray Newlands

Newlands is not just an entrepreneur, business advisor, speaker and contributor to publications like Forbes. He founded Sighted and most recently Chatty People, a free bot building platform. In addition to what Newlands has already brought to the chatbot community, he also penned an AI chatbot marketing guide entitled “How to Create a Successful Bot Marketing Strategy.” As chatbots’ reign on businesses grow, it’s not far fetched to think Newlands will be leading the charge in 2017.

Matt Schlicht

Schlicht’s resume and accolades are as impressive as they come. He was twice-named one of Forbes 30 under 30, created Chatbots Magazine, and co-founded (and serves as CEO) Octane AI, a company that allows one to create a bot with the intention of engaging in one’s audience via messaging. It is Schlicht’s firm belief that in the future, all companies will use chatbots. With Schlicht running things, he may be right.

Simon Robic

Robin is Founder of Bringr and current Product Manager at iAdvize, a real-time customer engagement platform that enables a company to detect online opportunities and connect them with experts to achieve impact on sales. Robic is an AI and chatbot expert on a global scale, known for his belief that AI should be guided by humans. He understands that by combining chatbots and humans, companies can provide customers with more specific, efficient customer service.

Michael Perry

Perry was on the scene long before there was any chatbot buzz. He put his stamp on the industry when his company Kit, a fully automated virtual marketing assistant that is used in over thirty different countries, was acquired by Shopify. The acquisition didn’t change Perry’s thinking, but it did change how he did business. And although Perry is a big believer in chatbots, he does see a risk in overusing them, causing a business to lose their authenticity.

Chris Messina

Who can say they invented the hashtag? Messina can! He is a former employee of both Uber and Google, and proud creator of his own Facebook Messenger chatbot, MessinaBot. Though Messina is a “product guy,” his knowledge of chatbots and their integration into business is right at the top. He currently serves as an organizer at Botness, a two-day event in New York where all things bots are discussed. Messina can frequently be found speaking at conferences such as SXSW, Google I/O, and Launchfest.