This article is republished with permission from Wonder Tools, a newsletter that helps you discover the most useful sites and apps. Subscribe here.

Poe makes it easy for anyone to create an AI bot in a few minutes. No coding is required: Just fill in a few fields instructing your bot to answer questions in a particular way. It might answer queries in Shakespearean English or translate text into emojis. It’s free in any browser at or on iOS.

How to create an AI bot in three minutes

  1. Visit and set up an account. You can use your phone number, email address, or a Google/Apple account. 
  2. Name your bot to signal its focus. The name can be 4 to 15 letters long.
  3. Write the bot’s foundational instruction. This will be its operating credo. Your prompt should tell the bot how to approach any query it receives. Advanced users can reference Poe’s Github tutorial.  
  4. Optional: Add an image as your bot’s profile pic. You can use NightcafeFotorCanva, or This Person Does Not Exist to create an AI-generated face. 
  5. Test your bot with sample questions. Revise its foundational instructions if the replies don’t meet your expectations. 

Bots I created

  • EthicalJourno is designed to draw on the ethical principles of the Society of Professional Journalists. Bot face made with NightCafe.
  • 2ndGradeTeacher simplifies complex subjects for a 7-year-old. Face made with Fotor.
  • BotanyBlair responds to the name of any plant with interesting info along with a two-line poem about the plant. Face made with Canva.
  • 6wordsummary sums up anything in six words. Face made with Unsplash.
  • MemoryAid provides mnemonic devices for anything you want to recall.
  • FrenchGuru translates text into French and teaches you along the way.

My failed bot

MissingO was my attempt at a bot that answers all queries without using the letter O. It frequently erred. I recreated it as AvoidtheLetterY. It still fails.

How Poe works

Your bot relies on an existing AI engine for its intelligence. Here’s Poe’s explanation. You can choose a base model from OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT; or Anthropic, a competitor that raised $450 million in funding this week from Google and others. Decades of artificial intelligence research have led to this moment.

More Poe bots

In addition to making your own bot, you can explore and use others’ bots.

  • LieDetector will poke holes in your logic 
  • EmbellishBot will turn any statement into flowery language
  • Midjourney helps you word your requests for AI-generated images, an alternative to Poe also lets you make your own bots. It has a library of famous TV, movie, and game characters you can chat with, along with pop stars and business people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates. You can use it in a web browser or, as of May 23, on iOS or Android. You can construct a character in a minute. In advanced mode, you can customize a character’s style and script phrases for it.

Like Poe, also has a library of existing bots you can chat with. I messaged first with Hyperglot to practice Italian without torturing a native speaker. In addition to bantering, it offered tips for learning more, including YouTube channels and podcasts.

Beware of shallow, lying bots

I chatted with a George Orwell bot. Its answers were believable until I asked it for reading recommendations to learn more about Orwell’s influence on other writers. The bot then gave me made-up book titles, none of which existed.

Making a bot on

It’s easy to create a bot, but hard to make it great. To test, I made a Michel de Montaigne bot. It took me a few minutes to write a brief intro, phrasing it as I imagined Montaigne might if he were alive. I’m skeptical about my bot’s understanding of the great essayist’s writings, though it does appear to have at least a rudimentary knowledge.

This article is republished with permission from Wonder Tools, a newsletter that helps you discover the most useful sites and apps. Subscribe here.


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