How do Chatbots Work | What are Chatbot, Uses, Types, and History

How do Chatbots Work?

Let us understand what are chatbots and how do chatbots work. when did it start before exploring the list of popular chatbots?

Smartphones, Mobile apps, Artificial Intelligence, and many more jargons are quite common these days.

It was just a concept around two decades back, and only a few tech experts could explain the details of it and how it helps in the future.

With the revolution in the digital world and enhancement in the hardware and software part of the computer, the majority of our day-to-day activities, information accesses, which were manual and paper-driven, started going online.

The communications, video calls, chatting, bank transactions, or filling up online forms were a boon to several busy people who did not have time to visit a bank or a government office to pay bills or submit the form.

But then many new internet starters felt it to be challenging in terms of longer waiting time to get the query resolved, accessing the information on websites.

As the smartphone concept gained popularity, tech giants had already conceptualized having mobile apps (lighter applications) and accessing information or carrying out any transaction activity at their fingertips anywhere, anytime.

But, still, many of the users faced problems in getting their queries resolved on basic issues.

To mitigate the issue and make the app user-friendly along with artificial intelligence led to the development of automated assistance as soon as you open a website or an app. 

Several developments have been made in this field to make it more efficient, and simple.

The biggest innovation is a chatbot. It has not only made the work easier but has reduced human interface and it is quick, responsive to as many users accessing the websites or apps.

What are chatbots?

How do Chatbots Work

In laymen’s terms, a chatbot is a simple text-based device created to solve your online queries.

And technically, a chatbot is an artificial intelligence software used to conduct a conversation or chat with a human being or a chatter in natural language through voice interactions or text over mobile apps, through telephone, websites, etc. 

A chatbot is designed in a way, to replicate how a human behaves during a conversation.

Chatbot requires continuous tuning and testing, and whosever produces, it has to pass the industry standard Turing test.

They are used for various purposes like information gathering, customer service, or requesting routing.

Chatbot applications use word categorization processes, artificial intelligence, natural language processors, and also sometimes use only general keywords and common phrases obtained from the database.

The classification of chatbots happens under various categories based on usage such as commerce, health, education, news, finance, etc.

Now you will be wondering- Do chatbots use Artificial Intelligence (AI). They look so simple.

They are just simple text-based services. But do you know how chatbots are implemented?

How do they work and what are the different types of chatbots.

Types of chatbots

Let us see different types of chatbots.

Rule-based chatbots

These chatbots mainly give answers to questions that are defined in a particular pattern.

The interactions are generally for support and service functions and are specific and structured.

These types of chatbots handle common questions, simple transactions that do not involve much change. 

This kind of conversation is very basic.

Intelligent chatbots

These chatbots use Machine Learning (ML) to learn from the request of the user. In this, bots are trained to understand the exact word and sentence and then give a reply.

Over a while, they teach themselves to understand more questions and deliver different responses.

AI-powered chatbots

These chatbots combine both the benefits of rule-based bots and intelligent bots to solve the problems of the user.

These types of chatbots are called virtual assistants or digital assistants.

They are much more sophisticated, personalized, and interactive than task-oriented chatbots.

These chatbots always influence natural language understanding, natural language processing, and machine learning to learn as they proceed.

They perform analysis and apply intelligence to enable personalization based on the past behavior and profile of the user.

Digital assistants can learn a user’s needs, preferences, and provide recommendations based on them.

So now you will be wondering, is Siri a chatbot? Is Alexa a chatbot? If yes, then what type?

Yes, Siri and Alexa are both chatbots, and both are examples of AI-powered chatbots.

By this time, you are familiar with the chatbot basics and its type, it is also interesting to know the history of chatbot development since its inception.

History of chatbot development

Many of you would be thinking that the chatbot gained popularity in the last few years, but very few are aware that the concept existed from the time people started interacting with computers.

In 1950, Alan Turing submitted a theory on the first concepts of AI and made a question saying, ‘If a machine can think?’

He invented the Turing test to identify whether you are talking to the machine or a human.

Later, in the early ’60s the first-ever chatbot ELIZA was created by Joseph Weizenbaum at MIT Laboratory, and then in 1972, PARRY was created.

These two were the early attempts of creating chatbots that can converse in a human voice.

Since then, chatbots have come a long way. Based on artificial intelligence technologies, natural language processing, deep learning and machine learning, algorithms, and many other parameters, chatbots are made.

Chatbot examples

IBM’s WATSON, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, are a few chatbots there were created and were widely used.

Lastly, in 2016 Facebook created a Messenger bot to get a quick response from its users.

Now you will be wondering is WhatsApp a chatbot that we all are using nowadays in common.

Yes, a WhatsApp bot is a software program used on the messaging app WhatsApp.

It helps to have a conversation related to commerce and industry and manage issues and queries of customers.

Do you know how the chatbot works or what a working principle of a chatbot is?

How do chatbots work?

The chatbot generally analyzes the user’s request, understands it, and then provides a suitable answer.

The answer can be in any form, either text, voice messages, phrases, etc.

A chatbot works on three fundamental methods that are as follows:-

Using Pattern-matching bot

The pattern-matching bot is created that organizes the text and delivers the response based on the keywords.

Artificial Intelligence Markup Language is used to run this bot.  Here the bot only knows the answers to the saved questions.

The bot cannot answer any other questions out of the database.

Using Algorithm

The other option is the algorithm on which these chatbots run.

A definite pattern is defined to respond to each question in the database.

Algorithms make the structure of chatbot more manageable and reduce the classifiers.

Using artificial neural networks

Using artificial neural networks, chatbots can calculate the response to a particular question using different parameters.

Here each sentence is broken down into various words, and each word is fed as an input in neural networks.

With time, the neural network becomes strong and helps the chatbot to create accurate responses to the queries.

You have learned how a chatbot works, but now you will be thinking that how can they be created.

So let us learn how chatbots are created? How are chatbots created?

Chatbots are created in the same way a web page or a mobile app is developed, with some unique set of requirements and considerations.

Process of Making a chat bot

Before creating a chatbot there are a few things required to be understood.

  • Nature of problem you are trying to solve
  • What platform will your chatbot use?
  • On Which server setup your chatbot will run?

To get a good chatbot you need to first understand your goals, objectives and how to handle the inputs.

Hence following steps will help you to create a good chatbot:-

Step 1 Designing a Chatbot –

Chatbot designing is a process where the conversation or interaction between a user and a chatbot is in a defined manner.

In this, the parameters like personality, the questions, and overall interaction required to be done, are defined.

Step 2 Building a chatbot –

While building a chatbot, two main tasks have to be fulfilled- understand the main purpose of the user and then give the correct answer.

The first task includes the input given by the user, whereas the second task includes different methods a chatbot needs to generate, based on the user responses.

Step 3 Monitoring a chatbot –

In this, a chatbot has to be monitored to detect potential defects or problems and provide useful approaches to improve the user experience.

Step 4 Maintenance of the chatbot –

With the changing company and user requirements, old chatbot platforms require continuous maintenance with manual input.

The maintenance can be in any form, such as in-house training, service provider, etc.

But all these incur huge costs, so to reduce the expenses, many companies are experimenting to develop self-learning chatbots with the help of AI.

Now let us learn how to create a chatbot in Google Dialogflow.

Google dialogflow chatbot

How to make a chatbot using Dialogflow?

Step 1 Signing up in Google

To make a chatbot you need a Google account.

If you already have an account, log in to your Google account.

After logging in you will be taken to the page of the account setting. Once you have made your preferences, check the terms of service and click the accept button.

After that, you will enter the Dialogflow home page to start creating your chatbot.

Step 2 Creating agent

Once we have entered Dialogflow, the first thing we need to do is create an agent.

Give a name, select the time zone, and your preferred language.

Step 3 Making Intents

There are two types of intents provided by Dialogflow – Default Welcome Intent and Default Fallback Intent for each created agent.

Intents are basic building blocks for the chatbot.

Let us have a look at each Intent.

1.         Default fallback Intent

On creating an agent, various responses are configured automatically in Default fallback intent.

Whenever, a user’s input does not match with the saved response, Default Fallout intent to select a random response, from the saved list of responses in the database.

2.         Default Welcome Intent

Configuration of various training phrases and responses takes place in this intent. This intent will start as soon as the user starts interacting.

As soon as you click Default Welcome Intent, you will be able to see training phrases, actions, and other parameters.

Hence, we can start building our bot by adding phrases and responses.

Step 4 Creating new Intent

To create new intent, click on the ‘Create intent’ button on the top, enter its name, and save it.

Under the Training Phrases section, you can enter your training phrases under the textbox “Add user expression” and click on the Save button.

Based on your intent, you can enter your training phrases under different sections such as

Rich Responses, Suggestion chips, Create introduction, Create experience, etc.

After a series of your intent at the end, you have to enter your training phrase for exit intent.

As soon as this intent is marked, the conversation will end, and the user will exit.

What are chatbots used for?

There are many uses of the chatbot; you can find chatbot usage in business, industry, for websites, apps, etc.

The possibilities of chatbot usage are endless. Below are a few applications of a chatbot.

  • For tracking customer satisfaction, a chatbot is used with the help of natural language processing.
  • It is used for providing customer service, wherein responses are given for each question and thus solving their issues.
  • Chatbot helps the customers to book their flights.
  • The chatbot is also used in the e-commerce industry for purchasing products
  • A customer can make online orders for their food using a chatbot from restaurants.
  • It is also used for sending promotions to the customers by retail store owners
  • A chatbot is used as marketing campaigns in which either a question is asked or a game is played.
  • They are also used as digital assistants or personal chatbots in the form of Siri in Apple, Cortana in Microsoft, Alexa for Google, etc.

What is chatbot business and marketing?

A chatbot is not only used for websites and app users but it is used for businesses as well.

People nowadays prefer a service which they can access sitting in front of the computer, and hence they prefer chatbots for quick communications with different brands.

Chatbots provide 24/7 customer service, which helps businesses in resolving issues within minutes.

Chatbots are also helpful in acquiring information about customers. A Customer, to gain the benefit of a chatbot, had to fill in some information regarding their name and email address.

This information is stored in the database, and the customer can be retargeted at any time for future marketing purposes.

How do chatbots qualify leads?

Chatbots qualify leads by asking different visitors on websites a series of questions and taking different steps based on their answers.

Future of Chatbots

We have seen that the scope of the internet has changed with the development of smartphones, the web, and social media.

We are living in an era where smart chatbots are everywhere around us.  According to a report, the chatbot is targeted to exceed $1.34 billion estimations by 2024.

Starting from customer service to digital assistants everything is based on Artificial intelligence and machine learning.

As chatbots are driven by artificial intelligence, they are going to make an impact in the future by enhancing human capabilities and making them spend more time on strategic activities rather than tactical activities.

In the coming future, with the development of artificial intelligence and 5G technology, businesses and consumers are going to enjoy a faster chatbot, along with recommendations and predictions within a conversation.

All these possibilities are at present under investigation and will develop with the advancement of AI, NLT, ML, and the internet.

Later or not, every individual will be having a personal assistant in his pocket, creating a world efficiently and connected to life and work.

Once considered as a concept has now turned into reality.

With the revolutionization in the digital world, all the service industry and the product manufacturing groups are highly focusing on opting for such concepts of chatbots to make the app or website user-friendly and minimizing the human interface for a quick solution.

Continuous development is going on to explore more efficient options in the development of chatbots.

From optimizing manufacturing operations to customer service, chatbots have transformed the whole scenario of management.

They are available round the clock with highly sophisticated conversations just like humans and have helped to improve business performance. 

Many companies are competing to develop an advanced chatbot for consumers and corporate.

But still, chatbots have a long way to go. There are many promises to fulfill, and they every time need to be kept updated with the AI trends, such as automated machine learning and developing intelligence.

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