Questionnaire 3: Chatterbots

A chatterbot (chat bots, talk bots) is a type of conversational agent; it is a computer program known as Artificial Conversational Entity (ACE), which is designed to simulate a real conversation with human users.

ASIMO, created by Honda, is a humanoid robot that is able to walk and interact with humans

ASIMO, created by Honda, is a humanoid robot that is able to walk and interact with humans.

And when we talk about a simulation, we really mean that because chatterbots are not capable of “understanding” the conversation. The way they “converse” is just simply by recognizing words or phrases from the human user, which allows them to use pre-calculated responses which can move the conversation on in an apparently meaningful way without requiring them to know what they are talking about.

To solve this problem researchers have been working hard in order to provide the chaterbots with some kind of Artificial Intelligence (AI); moreover, they have made an special effort to improve their flair for Natural Language Processing (NLP). As a result, we have obtained chatterbots as Jabberwacky, which is able to learn new responses based on user interactions.

Nowadays, large commercial entities are already utilizing Virtual Assistants to reduce expenditures on Call Centres and provide a first point of contact that can inform the user exactly of points of interest, provide support, capture data from the user and promote products for sale. This has to be considered an important step forward in the use of chatterbots in order to help people, but we cannot forget to mention that malicious chatterbots are also frequently used to ask people for personal information, such as bank account numbers. So we have to be on alert.

If scientists continue providing chatterbots with Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be one day we will all be able to interact and have a “real” conversation with chatterbots in a natural language. And who knows, may be that day is not so far away.


(Note: in the future this article could be modified several times in order to include more up-to-date information.)


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