Talking to a robot may sound like a crazy idea. Or rather it might have sounded like a crazy idea but it’s not anymore. We live in the era of the fast communication, which has transformed our big and incognizable world into a virtual village. In this process, one of the key roles was played by messaging applications.
They have become the place that brings together everyone and everything for a worldwide communication. Today messengers are crowded with the services that are personified by means of a conversational interface. In this article, we are going to figure out what it means and answer the question “ what is chatbot ”.
Until recent times bot was synonymous with malicious software. The most dangerous ones were made to crack security terms. Also, talk to a robot could come up as a parody of a dialogue with a virtual assistant (which it wasn’t actually), which was considered to act as a customer help.
Sometimes you could also face robotic comments on the posts in social media (it still frequently happens) that were either promoting something or driving fake traffic. Chatbots we are going to talk about here are different from all those cases above.
Nowadays chat with a robot doesn’t imply anything strange or miraculous. Now and then we are coming across virtual assistants that serve a bridge between customers’ needs and those who provide services and products to satisfy them.
The bridge that helps to cut costs and raise the efficiency of the services. And we have no more surprise or fear for them. Instead, we are coming to perceive them as something quite natural in the modern technological environment.
So, what is chatbot? Loosely speaking, it’s a piece of software. You can also think about it in terms of an application – either web or mobile one (which depends on where it acts). That’s true. But nowadays it’s trendy to think about chatbots in the terms of something smart. Why does it happen? Indeed, this is due to an advanced functionality, which derives from an artificial intelligence.
With AI, chatbots become able to learn from the information the receive from users. The more information they obtain – the smarter they become. They can use an information to analyze it and predict future behavior of the users. Chatbots without any basic machine learning features are considered outdated and insufficient in the modern world. Therefore, if you talk to a robot most likely it means that you talk to artificial intelligence online.
Where has it started?
Though chatbots came into our world nearly half century ago (get acquainted with the chatbots’ history here), they were not popular among the wide audience until recent times. If you are wondering now what recent times I mean, then you may not be familiar with the Facebook conference in April 2016 where a major welcoming of facebook messenger chat bots was announced. After that many messenger platforms did the same. For instance, KIK (messaging platform that is popular among teens) went further and launched bot store.
What is chatbot?
Now bots are considered an alternative for conventional applications. Here and there bloggers and nerds are stating that applications are already dead. For the person that is totally unfamiliar, with the topic it may become strange – why worldwide companies have come to be interested in encouraging people to run bots on their messengers. Let’s figure that out.
Most of the applications that live on App stores (except gaming ones) either provide interaction with services or help you with something. When application entered our life, it became easier because you didn’t have to handle many functions by yourself anymore.
From the simplest calculations to style guides to full-fledged fitness consultants. With applications, your smartphone became a tool number one of superpower, a high-power data carrier that has never been accessible for human before.
What could have happened that we are ready now to betray our lovely applications? Starving for perfection is the main reason – whatever blurred it can seem to you. We always seek for an optimization. Even though we are used to referring this fancy word to the technological field, it has come from our mental processes.
Most of the times inventions start with the complexity. We create things as they exist in our heads. But it’s rarely the easiest way. To find the later one, we start to optimize things simplifying them where it’s possible. Against the most common illusions, a creation of simple for users things is more complicated than of difficult ones. That’s why the evolution of user interfaces often goes backward.
Chatbot has become an optimized version of a standard application. The main reason is that it provides a simplified user interface that enables you to interact with a service intuitively. If applications require you to learn how to leverage them, nowadays you can get the same services by means of chat with a bot. Doesn’t it sound closer to what futuristic films used to tell us about the future?
To find robot you can talk to online you can turn either to messaging platforms or different applications that have virtual assistants. On messaging platforms like Facebook virtual assistants act on behalf of different services while in applications they perform a role of customer service as a first thing users interact with.
Getting familiar with the topic may turn out to be not that clear. How can a piece of software be able to provide real help? How on the Earth can it work that robot is a first thing people interact with while trying to access a service and everybody stays satisfied? Well, first what I would like to say: “Give it a try and then come back to this questions”.
For newcomers, many things can seem pretty strange but let me clarify it a bit for you. Chat bots or virtual assistants in the form of a robot you can talk to online – even though they are armed with artificial intelligence – mostly are performing the basic stuff. They handle inquiries and redirect them to the people who are responsible for that. Mostly they are in charge of the work that doesn’t really require human intelligence.
Therefore, for businesses, the era of chatbots is becoming an opportunity to cut expenses on paying more for the work that can be handled by software. It’s obvious that you would rather pay a developer once that pay someone for a simple work – every month.
But you were one of them you would want to make it wisely, right? I mean that chat bot that can be helpful for business isn’t just about few hard-coded scenarios of conversations without any alternative possibilities for users.
For different cases, you may need a chatbot of different complexity: from the most straightforward examples of hard-coded logic only to those that possess language understanding, image and speech recognition, text analytics and many other advanced features based on machine learning.
Besides, chat bots are data-driven. It makes them a highly efficient tool for managing information and producing insights of how to make use of it. Therefore, while some of the chatbots serve for getting, storing and analyzing data by letting users only chat with robot, other ones provide advanced features of interaction – by means of voice and visuals.
Even though chat bot won’t become a solution of all your problems, it can help you to optimize business processes and get the most out of data you have. Today chatbots are everywhere: banking, marketing, healthcare, business management, etc. Therefore, having a clear answer to the question “what is chatbot” also defines how familiar with new technologies you are.
There’s no need at all to think about chatbots in terms of something that is going to substitute human workers. On the current stage of AI-development, chatbots can’t be anything more than just a tool, which helps people to be more productive. They can mimic human behavior only for the sake of providing more natural interaction.
Indeed, the emergence of chatbots isn’t something totally unexpected. As technologies are evolving, automation penetrates more fields we deal with. There can be many points of view on the question of its overall usefulness but at any case, the count of positive sides would be prevailing. Therefore, instead of fearing something bigger (that can come), let’s benefit from what we can access.
If you have come here to answer the question “ what is chatbot ”, I hope this article has helped you. Feel free to share your ideas and ask if anything isn’t clear enough.