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What is Chatbot – Online AI Bot

August 13 2019
Author: Blogauthor

As the father of modern computing – Alan Turing famously once said, “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human."

In today’s digital world, one of the most common things we can all relate to is proving to computers that we are, in fact, not computers. In between captchas and finding all images with cars in them, one questions how advanced bots and AI have become in today’s world when humans are sometimes failing these tests!

AI has revolutionized our world and it is only beginning. With this in mind, talking bots built using conversational AI are no surprise. AI is extremely useful in tasks where repeated, simple tasks need to be done. As such, talking robots are a very useful tool for many industries, especially customer care where thousands of similar requests pour in every day!

What is a Chatbot?

Technopedia defines a chatbot as “A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) program that simulates interactive human conversation by using key pre-calculated user phrases and auditory or text-based signals. Chatbots are frequently used for basic customer service and marketing systems that frequent social networking hubs and instant messaging (IM) clients. They are also often included in operating systems as intelligent virtual assistants.

A chatbot is also known as an artificial conversational entity (ACE), chat robot, talk bot, chatterbot or chatterbox.”

Common Chatbots

Common chatbots include Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. These are on all our phones or in our houses and exist as commercial chatbots serving almost as personal assistants! They are capable of handling our voice commands and follow the conversation.

However, even for such useful chatbots, there are improvements to be made in the future. As of now, they are nowhere near perfect at understanding all accents, lingos, colloquial terms or realistically following complex questions. They also usually provide surface-level results when asked to do a task. It still feels like an AI chat. Chatbot development will soon bring us all this and a lot more!

Commercial Chatbot Software

Commercially speaking, the top 5 AI chatbots are listed:

Swelly

Available on Facebook Messenger, it is used by over a million people. Its basic task is to take polls. It asks users to choose between 2 choices and voting occurs with the general public. It is interactive, easy-to-use and addictively fun. Best of all, it is amazingly simple.

eBay

A huge marketplace like eBay, its chatbot is one of the best ones ever made. Using only voice commands, one can easily buy whatever they need at a cheap price. It is integrated into Google Assistant too!

Lyft

As Uber’s biggest competitor, one can now book a Lyft cab using Slack, Messenger or even Alexa. Booking a ride is much easier with the UI and artificial intelligence chatbot used by Lyft.

Commercially, chatbot technology is rapidly improving to enhance user experience. It is estimated that by 2022, 90% of banking transactions will be done by chatbots! (Source: Chatbot Report Global Trends and Analysis) By 2020 alone, 80% of enterprises will be using chatbots in one form or the other. The industry is growing at 27% and is expected to be worth $994 million by 2024! (Source: State of Chatbot Market 2019)

How to Make a Chatbot?

In today’s world, it is important not to be left behind. Understanding how people talk to AI is crucial and capitalizing on it is a must.

First, we must understand how a chatbot works before we focus on how to build a chatbot.

1. Take Input from the user

2. Analyze the request

3. Identify elements and entities in the request

4. Compose a reply/Do the task

Each step is complex.

  1. Taking Input from the User – A voice-to-text software, like Apple Dictation or Windows Speech Recognition, does this task in case of voice-activated chatbots. Once the input is in text form, NLP (Natural Language Processing) tools need to be used. NLP has not been mastered yet, but the state-of-the-art algorithms are sufficient for most human and robot conversations.
  2. Analyzing the request – Once the input has been understood, it is important for the bot to find what it is being asked to do. For instance, a sentence may be something like “Alexa, what event do I have scheduled next Wednesday?” In such a request, there is very little extra added by the user. But in other cases, for instance, “Alexa, can you please check my calendar and tell me if I am free for a movie in 8 days?” In such a request, the bot needs to process that words like “movie” are not relevant to the request. The user has asked the same question and Alexa must report whether his calendar is free or not. This is where the complexity kicks in.
  3. Identify elements and entities – If we take the above request as an example, we can see that the intent is to check the user’s calendar. The relevant entities for Alexa to identify are the calendar, the date and the scheduled events on that date. It must then return this list. Additionally, it must return the answer as “Yes” or “No” so that adds another layer before final output.
  4. Reply/Output – This is the final stage for the bot. It must now give an accurate and relevant reply to the user. In addition, in our example, Alexa can also ask the second user, “Yes you are free. Which movie would you like to go for?” In such a case, it is differentiating the priority of the 2 parts of the input and processing them turn by turn thus making the user experience much more fluid and lifelike.

    These are the elements that are unique to a chatbot. The rest of the pieces of the puzzle lie in knowing how to build a bot. For that, you can check the step-by-step guide published by ChatBots Magazine at https://chatbotsmagazine.com/how-to-develop-a-chatbot-from-scratch-62bed1adab8c.

In Conclusion

Machine learning chatbots are all the rage across almost every industry in the world! Be it commercial or household use, chatbots are slowly but surely becoming a part of our everyday lives and allowing us to speed up a lot of daily tasks. The industry itself is massive, and the future looks bright as well! Chabot development is something that you should definitely keep an eye out for because soon enough every enterprise around you will have them and you cannot afford to be left out!