A chatbot can be referenced using many names depending on where you come from. For instance, some people refer to it as a talkbot while others refer to it using the term artificial conversational entity. In other places, it can also be referred to as an interactive agent, IM bot or chatterbot. In a layman’s language, a chatbot can be defined as a computer program that is tasked with conducting a conversation through textual methods. It can also be used for auditory conversations. Chatbots have been designed for several purposes, but they are commonly used for information acquisition and customer service. While some may use natural language processing systems, there are those that can use simple systems such as keyword matching. The term was originally introduced by Michael Mauldin back in 1994 in an effort to create conversational programs.

Background of Chatbots

Today, virtual assistants such as Google Assistant are dependent on chatbots. At the same time, the bots are accessible through a variety of instant messaging platforms, websites and other forms of apps. It’s also important to appreciate that these bots can also be used in non-assistant applications which is a common practice in the research industry and entertainment industries. In the social field, they are used to promote an issue, candidate or even products.

Specific applications of chatbots:

Message platforms

One of the most common applications of chatbots is instant messaging platforms. For starters, these are platforms such as B2C, Kik, WeChat as well as the Facebook Messenger. To increase customer engagement, some American companies such as Whole Foods, Disney, Pizza Hut and Domino’s have introduced their own bots. These chatbots have also been designed to offer the customers’ easier ways to order that is also convenient. Beyond these uses, the chatbots can also be used to promote the services and products offered by these companies. WhatsApp recently announced that it was working on an enterprise platform that was geared towards making automated agents and humans interact. Some of the companies that are part of this project include Aeromexico and KLM.kLM recently implemented one of these chatbots on its official site. Chinese travel companies have also shown some interest in these chatbots.

Websites and apps

Before the current version of chatbots, the previous ones were used in websites especially those of companies. A good example of a web chatbot is the Alaska’s airlines Ask Jenn that was launched in 2008. At the same time, there is the virtual customer service agent by Expedia that was introduced back in 2011. However, there are newer versions that have been introduced by a platform known as Rare Carat. The chatbot is powered by IBM and is referred to as the Rocky.

Internal reforms

There are efforts to show how the chatbots can be used to transform the internal operations of an organization. This is possible in projects related to the Internet of Things, human resources, and customer support. They can be used to replace call centers, and they are being used by companies such as Citroen, Renault, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group. Chatbots are also being used in modern toys.