What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are software programs that simulate human speech and are able to chat with users on Facebook and Telegram, for example.  They have gained popularity in recent years and have been used by many companies. But what is a chatbot? You will find out in this article.

How do chatbots work?

Chatbots operate via various channels such as the web, proprietary applications and messaging platforms, for example Facebook Messenger and Telegram.  The technology works without a complex interface designed for the user to enter and receive specific data.  To learn more, look here. Chatbots need to understand what the user wants and how to make it happen.  Human language, however, is confusing and imprecise.  Understanding it is the responsibility of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP).  The same technique is at the base of voice recognition systems for virtual assistants such as Siri, by Apple, the Google Now and Cortana, by Microsoft.

The future of chatbots

Despite the possibilities, chatbots still have a long way to go.  Facebook, which has been investing in the development of the technology for years, has announced that it is focusing on improving the conversational skills of bots.  The company has indicated in a report some key areas for improvement.  Among them, personality consistency, as they generally can't remember the history of the dialogue. And the reaction when they don't know the answer, which are frequently programmed and limited. 

Many modern chatbots are trained with movie dialogues.  Even the best scripts are not real natural conversations, so the results of this practice are sometimes strange.  To solve this problem, Facebook engineers built their own databases to train the machines' artificial intelligence.  The archive has more than 160,000 rows and each of the chatbots used was given a short biography in order to create consistent personalities.