Language and communication are part of what it is to be human. Many functions of the human brain are involved in processing, creating and understanding communication in both verbal and non-verbal forms.

Therefore, it is not surprising that we find it easier to communicate through natural language than to write, type, and type. However, human language is not a computer language.

How AI can help

Artificial intelligence helps bridge the gap between humans and machines by enabling machines to have language capabilities.

Not only does this make it easier for machines to engage in meaningful conversations, but it also helps support human-to-human interactions by improving machine conversions. Chatbots are software features designed to receive conversational input via text or voice and produce responses in natural language.

Chatbots are used in situations where back-to-back interaction is required. These features include customer support and customer service, accessing information, interacting with devices where physical input is inconvenient or impossible, or through voice-activated smart assistants. AI-powered chatbots are being adopted and becoming more powerful in various ways.

History of chatbots

To understand chatbots as we use them today, it is important to understand their history. Chatbots originated in early AI.

The Turing Test

A famous mathematician and the father of modern computing, Alan Turing not only established many of the foundations of modern computers but also invented the Turing test in 1950 as a way to determine the intelligence of machines.

The purpose of the Turing test is to determine the ability of a machine to demonstrate human-like cognitive behaviour through human interaction with an unknown object.

According to Turing, you can judge that a computer system is sufficiently intelligent if a normal person cannot tell whether the answer is from a machine or a human. The test of intelligence is the power of the chatbot. The first discussion that challenged the Turing test was Joseph Weizenbaum’s ELIZA program in 1966.

What was the ELIZA program?

Using written rules and proven relationships, ELIZA was designed as a “Rogerian” type of therapist. It asks questions and guides the interlocutor in some way. ELIZA is amazing at tricking people into thinking they can interact with a real person and not a computer. Most importantly, however, Weizenbaum did not claim that ELIZA was truly intelligent.

Instead, he created a unique way for the program to generate open-ended questions and remember the answers that people responded to, sending those answers to the person as if they were answering as a human would.

Most chatbots developed since then have followed the same principle as ELIZA by identifying keywords and having different responses that can be combined in different ways, using past responses for future responses and having ongoing conversations.

However, ELIZA was not meant to be smart. He showed how clever use of words and phrases can trick users into thinking they are having an intelligent conversation. Good intelligence is not just about identifying words and phrases. This is where a better negotiation process should begin.

Chatbots: current and future use cases

Chatbots are now used in a variety of situations such as online customer support or technical assistance. Moving forward, we are also seeing a growing trend of intelligent personal assistants.

Because chatbots are easy to deploy, companies see them as a great first case for AI within their organizations. Businesses from banking, finance, retail and others have AI-assisted chatbots. They’re used to help improve customer engagement, collect key customer information, and answer product questions.

The bottom line

Businesses are also turning to virtual assistants as another way to interact with customers. These tools can help provide step-by-step instructions on how to handle any type of defect, instructions and shopping lists, or other helpful information that the model will not be able to deliver to the customer.