What Is a Chatbot (and How Does It Work)?

Chatbots are everywhere. They’re capable of seamless communication and fluid interactions. Capable of answering the annoying, repetitive questions businesses face on a daily basis. 

They’re even capable of generating new leads and even go so far as to increase profits when used right.

But What Exactly Is a Chatbot?

Short for ‘chat robot’, chatbots are simply a computer program that simulates human conversation.

You can consider it a piece of software that interacts mostly through instant messaging. In the same way that humans interact, these bots are able to artificially replicate speech patterns from human interactions. 

Because speech and communication is so intricate, there are a variety of data science principles that make chatbots work.

Things like Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Named Entity Recognition and Augmentation each play a role in a well-functioning chatbot.

Machine Learning (ML) allows computers to learn by themselves without the need for manual programming. 

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a computer’s ability to understand human speech or text.

What Do They Do?

Essentially, a chatbot acts as a participant in a form of interaction between a human and a machine. These interactions usually happen in the form of written messages (text) or voice. 

Thanks to ML, the chatbot is programmed to work independently from a human operator. It can evaluate and answer questions in natural language and answer in the way that a real person would. 

To get to these answers, a chatbot rapidly goes through a combination of predefined scripts and a machine learning algorithm.

Whenever you ask a chatbot a question, it will respond based on what it knows at that point in time. In the case that the conversation confuses the chatbot, it will either reroute the conversation or even pass it on to a human operator. 

Regardless of the interaction, the chatbot will try to learn and develop with the data that it collects. 

Over time, the chatbot will make gradual, relevant improvements.

However, it’s important to note that the complexity of a chatbot is determined by its underlying software, as well as the data that it can access. 

And if a chatbot is not connected to any relevant data, then you will come to find that it has no real use.

Look at the Bots Around You

If you’ve interacted with Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa, then you can say for certain that you’ve interacted with one of these fascinating innovations.

And they are becoming increasingly popular.

In fact, many industries, especially e-commerce companies, are looking at various ways to use chatbots. The use cases mostly extend to improvements within the customer experience – whether for shopping, booking tickets, or any other customer-related services.

As the value of chatbots and user experience design continues to grow, we will come to see better engagement with artificial intelligence. 

It will ultimately lead to new horizons with seamless innovation and unfathomable scale.

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