What is a chatbot?

Chatbot, what are they really? The proliferation of chat and messaging has fostered the emergence of the chatbot phenomenon, a ‘non-human’ contact that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to return a structured dialogue to the end user. In this service, which we will update periodically, analyze and monitor the phenomenon to understand how chatbots will evolve and what kind of impact they will have on companies.

Last updated: November 18, 2020

See also : What's the best chatbot?

Chatbot, what are they

First of all, as with many brand new terms, neologisms generated by crases of Anglo-Saxon terms, there is a lexical question: is it said a chatbot or a chatbot? Let’s take two important references for the Italian language. The Zingarelli dictionary (Zanichelli) declines it to the male. But the equally authoritative Treccani dictionary wants it to the female. Surely it’s invariable, so in the plural it remains chatbot. Use it at male or female, therefore, makes little difference, it is still justified in both ways. Here we’ll use it to the male.

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To understand what chatbots are we need to think about the Internet that has accustomed us to a remarkable response speed compared to the past, thanks above all to the search engines, which are able to a few seconds to give us an enormous amount of information on all our questions. Not to mention the chats in interpersonal relationships. It is perhaps also for this reason that, both as users and as suppliers, we are extremely frustrated when we find ourselves immersed in offline processes — often stuttering — that take time and attention away from us. This would be enough to explain the chatbot phenomenon that, thanks to the advances of Artificial Intelligence and beyond, makes it possible to actually dialogue with the machines and obtain some answers, albeit to specific and circumscribed questions. We’re talking about the chatbot phenomenon, a “non-human” contact that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to return a structured dialogue to the end user . And automatically answer our specific questions, such as: what temperature will be next 30 August in Milan?

From a technological point of view, chatbots are software solutions designed to simulate a human conversation. The term comes from ‘chatterbot‘ coined in 1994 by Michael Mauldin (the creator of the ChatBot Verbot) to describe conversation programs. Chatbots are often referred to as ‘smart agents’ but there are numerous variations; some just scan keywords that come as input to process a response with the more matching keywords (hence with a similar operation to search engines); others, are able to simulate human behavior through advanced recognition systems and analysis of natural language (NLP) .

Chatbot, the strengths

A technological solution that, in reality, is not entirely new but that has been overwhelmingly cleared from the most recent investments of crucial players in the IT market such as Microsoft and Facebook. The areas of use have proven to be countless: from classic virtual assistants (including within smart home devices), to advanced CRM systems or solutions capable of providing information on news, offers, promotions. The strong point of chatbots is obvious: as opposed to normal ‘human’ call centers, a chatbot is always there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a recent Iquii survey highlighted, consumers look at chatbots as the key to fast, immediate, and convenient with online services, hoping for greater effectiveness and satisfaction. And thanks to the deep integration with social networks and messaging apps, he can know the tastes, preferences, interests, age, language and much more of those who interact with it, allowing you to offer the right solution or answer at the right time. Moreover, and this is probably the real difference compared to the past, today chatbots incorporate machine learning functions, so they learn from their ‘mistakes’ and user behaviors.

Chatbot and Consumer Satisfaction

So it is clear that, especially for companies that interface directly with end users (but also for those that deal with a large number of suppliers) it becomes important to equip themselves with solutions of this type, which can of course also be an important advantage from an economic point of view. Also because as Iquii WHITEPAPER How does it work and what are the benefits of a Devops-as-a-Service platform? Personal Computing software Download the Whitepaper always highlights

Unsatisfactory interactions with brands and negative experiences have a strong impact on consumer choices, and companies must work on those choices to continue to be competitive. aspects that generate more frustration in their customers .”

Chatbots and robots, a market in

Then there is another advantage that is not adequately considered: building a basic chatbot is not particularly expensive or complicated, so much so that there are several open source platforms that allow even for small companies the realization of a service of this type in a few steps. In addition to open and free solutions, however, it is clear that what of chatbots is a very profitable market also from an enterprise point of view, so much so that, in addition to the aforementioned Facebook and Microsoft, companies such as WeChat, IBM, Next It,growth etc. are also in the field in this market so much so that the latest forecasts developed by Market Research provide for the next few years a sustained growth of bots and similar ( 37% annually between 2017 and 2023), with a turnover that is expected to reach $6 billion by 2023.

Chatbot, an ‘almost’ human intelligence

A Pushing this run is also the ability to integrate users’ payments into the chat system, thus making it possible for companies to sell products and services directly to their customers. Facebook Messenger has already moved on this path, at the moment, supports PayPal payments, but other solutions are expected to arrive soon. Obviously, in this year and a half of the widespread of bots there were no shortage of real flops and accidents, proving that the chatbot system has to take many more steps forward. In particular, according to Nuance, in order to succeed, a bot needs to be able to support a smart two-way conversation. Like any human being, the bot must know how to contextualize as soon as the user changes the subjects or if he uses an informal language with conversational expressions. Currently, most bots are not sophisticated enough to address these requirements, only fulfilling simple requests. For example, returning to the question “What is the temperature in Milan on 30 August?” , all weather bots would be able to answer, but if the conversation goes on with another question, “What about Beijing?” Many would not understand that the topic we are talking about is the same, that is, temperature. In short, the defined success of bots and chatbots, goes from their deep and definitive ‘humanization’ .

The international chatbot market

According to the Grand View Research 2018 report, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 24.3% (average annual growth rate).

The chatbot industry is expected to see significant growth over the forecast period as it will allow businesses to substantially reduce operating costs, it is analysts’ opinion. In addition, innovations AI and machine learning technologies are likely to improve the characteristics of chatbots, which are an important engine for the AI market in general.

According to the American research firm, there is a significant increase in the number of users of messaging services, which is expected to exceed the number of users of social networking sites. In addition, there has been significant development in the NLP field that led to simplified interaction between computers and human languages. Today, the entire chatbot ecosystem includes various cross-linking capabilities that make it easy to boost chatbot performance across all applications. .

From an implementation point of view, most businesses prefer to integrate chatbots into their websites for immediate, simplified interaction with the own customers.

The market will also grow because it is driven by other trends. Technologies like AI, IoT, and APIs, among others, are evolving rapidly. Chatbots are integrated with these technologies to deliver advanced operations, thereby driving market demand. AI chatbots and voice-based audio are expected to represent the largest market share in the future. In addition, speech recognition has improved dramatically, especially in terms of native languages, which should result in better performance of chatbots across various applications.

Cleverbot, what is it, what is it for

Cleverbot is an artificial intelligence web application whose purpose is to “mimic human conversations by communicating with humans.” Created in 1988 by AI scientist Rollo Carpenter, already inventor of Jabberwacky, an application similar, in the first ten years of its existence he held thousands of conversations with Carpenter and his colleagues. In 1997 it was launched on the web and the number of conversations exceeded 65 million. Cleverbot participated in a Turing test in India in 2011. According to the results Cleverbot was judged 59.3% as a human being; a score of 50% or higher is often considered a passing of the test.

Cleverbot differs from traditional chatterbots by the fact that the user does not converse with a program; the algorithm selects phrases from the databases of previous conversations in advance. They say, “talking to Cleverbot is a bit like talking to the Internet community.”

WHO’s Coronabot, against the pandemic

World Health Organization LOMS has created a WhatsApp chatbot service that allows you to receive updates on the evolution of the pandemic of coronavirus. To access the WHO chatbot service, simply click this link and then follow the directions. Alternatively, you can save the number 41 79 893 18 92 in the phone book of your smartphone and send him a WhatsApp message by writing “Join”. At this point, the chatbot sends a message with instructions for use

What information is available through the WHO chatbot? You can know in real time the updated numbers related to the infected, the healed and the dead around the world; you get answers to frequently asked questions about the disease and advice on it.

The only drawback, for many Italians who are not familiar with foreign languages: the information is provided only in English.

Through the chatbot you can participate directly in the fundraiser organized by Facebook to support the ongoing efforts to counter the advance of the virus.

The WHO app also aims to put a brake to misinformation. In addition to striving for fake news, Whatsapp donated 1 million dollars to the International Fact-Checking Network in support of the fact-checking action carried out by the Corona Virus Facts Alliance, an association that brings together more than 100 local organizations in at least 45 countries, united in the fight against fake news on the pandemic.

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