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A chatbot or chatterbot is a software application used to conduct an on-line chat conversation via text or text-to-speech, in lieu of providing direct contact with a live human agent.Designed to convincingly simulate the way a human would behave as a conversational partner, chatbot systems typically require continuous tuning and testing, and many in production remain unable to adequately converse, while none of them can pass the standard Turing test.The term “ChatterBot” was originally coined by Michael Mauldin creator of the first Verbot in 1994 to describe these conversational programs.
Chatbots are used in dialog systems for various purposes including customer service, request routing, or information gathering. While some chatbot applications use extensive word-classification processes, natural language processors, and sophisticated AI, others simply scan for general keywords and generate responses using common phrases obtained from an associated library or database.
Many companies’ chatbots run on messaging apps or simply via SMS. They are used for B2C B2C customer service, sales and marketing.
In 2016, Facebook Messenger allowed developers to place chatbots on their platform. There were 30,000 bots created for Messenger in the first six months, rising to 100,000 by September 2017.
As part of company apps and websites
Previous generations of chatbots were present on company websites, e.g. Ask Jenn from Alaska Airlines which debuted in 2008
Used by marketers to script sequences of messages, very similar to an Autoresponder sequence. Such sequences can be triggered by user opt-in or the use of keywords within user interactions. After a trigger occurs a sequence of messages is delivered until the next anticipated user response. Each user response is used in the decision tree to help the chatbot navigate the response sequences to deliver the correct response message.
Many high-tech banking organizations are looking to integrate automated AI-based solutions such as chatbots into their customer service in order to provide faster and cheaper assistance to their clients who are becoming increasingly comfortable with technology. In particular, chatbots can efficiently conduct a dialogue, usually replacing other communication tools such as email, phone, or SMS In banking, their major application is related to quick customer service answering common requests, as well as transactional support.
Chatbots are also appearing in the healthcare industry. A study suggested that physicians in the United States believed that chatbots would be most beneficial for scheduling doctor appointments, locating health clinics, or providing medication information.
Whatsapp has tied up with the World Health Organisation WHO to make a chatbot service that answers users’ questions on Covid-19.
In New Zealand, the chatbot SAM – short for Semantic Analysis Machine (made by Nick Gerritsen of Touchtech) – has been developed. It is designed to share its political thoughts, for example on topics such as climate change, healthcare and education, etc. It talks to people through Facebook Messenger.
In India, the state government has launched a chatbot for its Aaple Sarkar platform, which provides conversational access to information regarding public services managed.
Malicious chatbots are frequently used to fill chat rooms with spam and advertisements, by mimicking human behavior and conversations or to entice people into revealing personal information, such as bank account numbers. They were commonly found on Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and other instant messaging protocols. There has also been a published report of a chatbot used in a fake personal ad on a dating service’s website.