A chatbot is loosely defined as a computer program which conducts conversation via auditory and textual methods. It is derived from the word “ChatterBot”, coined by Michael Mauldin in 1994. There are several derivatives – verbot, smartbot, talkbot, IM bot, interactive agent, conversational interface, AI conversational entity, and so on.
Interestingly, this idea was perceived in 1950 by a brilliant British mathematician and scientist with years of expertise, Alan Turing. While Turing theorized on text-based conversational interactions, the technology has evolved over the years.
So, what has changed? Well, in the last three to four years there has been an exponential proliferation of chatbots, an underlying technology component for delivering higher business value with human-like intelligence (the Turing criterion). How do these chatbots work? Typically, there is a user interface that allows a user to type in or ask using AUI questions (or phrases, expecting a response), the same is processed by an NLP (natural language processing) engine to convert to a structured code. This code is then run on a target system or application to get the result and the reverse loop is completed similarly.
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