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Chatbots

A “chatbot” is a computer program that is designed to simulate conversations with human users, especially via the Internet, and can be text- or voice-based. Chatbots are commonly used in customer service and information acquisition systems; they are also part of some instant messaging (IM) applications and online interactive games. Two main types of chatbots currently exist—stateless and stateful. 

 

 

  • Stateless. A simple computer program version that is based on a set of rules that are limited in functionality and learns only from its programming (not from experiences with human users). A stateless chatbot approaches each interaction as though it is a new interaction. 
  • Stateful. A more advanced and sophisticated computer program that uses artificial intelligence to review past interactions and frame new responses in context. A stateful chatbot understands language—not just commands—and continuously becomes smarter as it learns from conversations with human users. Typically, these chatbots use machine-learning algorithms to improve the accuracy of their natural language and voice recognition capabilities. As the human user interacts with the chatbot, deep learning programming is better able to predict the appropriate response is when communicating with an end user. 

 

Chatbot is the shortened form of “chatterbot” (a derivative from “chatterbox” and “chatter robot”)—and is also known as an “artificial conversational entity” (ACE). A well-known, classic chatbot is ELIZA, developed in 1966. Current examples of more sophisticated chatbots include Siri and Alexa.