What Is a Chatbot and How Does It Work?

We live in the modern age, and more and more things are getting automated. Before, when we needed to buy groceries, we had to get dressed, leave the house, walk all the way over to a store, do our shopping, and come back. Now? Now we pull out our phone, tap it a couple of times, and we have our groceries delivered to us in no time.

This didn’t just happen willy-nilly, though. We had to work for dozens of years to even get to the point where we could automate our daily lives in this manner. Among one of the most appreciated technological advancements of the past hundred years is that of robots, who, although not like in the movies, have already started running a small part of our world.

You can see this most frequently with automated chatbots, whether designed for pleasure or for business. Do you know the interactive surveys you might receive from your phone carrier every once in a while? The robot asks about your opinion in regards to the service. You give it an answer, the robot processes it, and then responds in turn.

Many wonder how this can even be done. Let us tell you all about the modern AI bot.

What Is a Chatbot?

In simple terms, a chatbot is a program or software that automatically completes an action if specific parameters are in motion. All chatbots have been designed with the intent of simulating human conversation. Even though a bot can do much more than that, this particular type of bot has a very specific purpose.

Chatbots are usually presented through a user interface in the form of a chat, as you would expect to see from instant messaging services such as Skype or Discord. On the other hand, you can also have a voice conversation with a chatbot, although that is rarer than typing out your answers as per the traditional manner.

Types of Chatbots

Not all chatbots are born the same. It is generally considered that there are about 6 unique types of chatbot, all of which operate differently. We’ve listed 3 of the most common chatbot classifications for you:

  • Menu Chatbots – The most common type of chatbot and the one that every business first broke into back during the early 2000s. The menu-based chatbot prompts the user with several options in the form of buttons. After the user makes their pick, then the “conversation” continues. This happens until the user comes across the information they were looking for.

  • Linguistic Chatbots – Also known as rule-based chatbots and considered to be a step up from their menu-based cousins. Linguistic chatbots attempt to predict the questions the user might pose through the use of a complicated formula that differs from bot to bot. Their answers are pre-defined and mostly directed towards specific questions.

  • Machine Learning Chatbots – These are the heavy hitters of chatbots, even though there are even better, more complex bot types out there. Also known as a contextual chatbot, the machine learning chatbot makes use of artificial intelligence and other such technologies to learn from previously had conversations so that their conversational abilities are in continuous improvement.

How Can a Bot Understand Human Speech?

Well, a chatbot doesn’t exactly understand a conversation as a human would since they are not sentient. Every chatbot constructs its answers from a large database established by its creator. This is basically the knowledge repertoire of the chatbot, their “intelligence.”

The more this knowledge base is expanded, the more talented the chatbot is at carrying out a conversation. Each bot database differs, as it is not only personalized but also heavily depends on what type of bot is being developed.

A chatbot isn’t just relegated to their database, though. Apple’s famous Siri application can search up questions on the internet to provide extremely detailed answers in response to a question. More importantly, a good chatbot is even able to memorize this new information for later use.

Inherit the Earth

It can be extraordinarily fun to chat with an intelligent chatbot, as it gives off the impression that it might actually be real. They’re definitely not – at least not in the way that we would imagine them – but they’re nonetheless a heap of fun.

Whether you’re doing technological research to find out better ways to improve robots or just wasting some time, a chatbot could very well make your day a lot more interesting!