AI Chatbots: What are Chatbots + How Do Chatbots Work?

Chatbots are autonomous programs that exist on the Internet. They are able to interact with users and other computer systems through responsive behaviors (i.e. two-way communication).

How Do Chatbots Work?

Credit: BotNerds

AI Chatbot vs. Scripted Chatbot

More advanced chatbots operate through artificial intelligence and learn the best way to respond to users over time. The more data that’s fed to the AI-powered chatbot, the better. On the other hand, many chatbots are built through scripts, in which a developer creates the chatbot from a set of programmed rules and it is unable to step out of the confines of those rules. Essentially, these chatbots are scripted programs while AI chatbots are systems that learn from data in real-time.

Chatbots are advancing fast in the tech world. The boom in these AI-powered systems may be due to the increased number of apps available for download nowadays. And admit it, we’re all kind of getting sick of downloading more and more apps.

Facebook Chatbot

Messenger was one of the first major social networks to pick up on this trend and opened up the Bots for Messenger platform to developers in April 2016.

The Facebook Ecosystem (Messenger, Video, Search, WhatsApp, Groups, and Instagram) is inherently moving towards mastering three key technologies: Connectivity, Artificial Intelligence and VR/AR.

The ultimate goal for Facebook and rival AI-powered platforms for bots? Continuously create differentiated, unique experiences for users that can improve over time. What better way to accomplish this than to start with chatbots?

New Bots for Messenger Feature: Chatbot Menus

Recently, Facebook added an incredibly useful new feature to Messenger — Chatbot Menus. This makes interacting with chatbots much easier because it speeds up the process of “figuring out” the chatbot when you first start using it. Expect many more advancements this year from Facebook to boost its Bots for Messenger services for developers and users alike.

How Do You Create A Chatbot?

Easy Chatbot Creator: Chatfuel

With intense advancements in artificially intelligent software and systems, we can expect to see more and more chatbots start popping up as we browse on the web. Chatfuel is a straightforward platform for beginners and immediate developers alike to program a chatbot for free online.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect when building a chatbot in Chatfuel:

  1. To get started, log in and choose whether you want to build your bot from scratch or from a premade templates.
  2. Then edit your bot by adding content blocks like static text cards, image galleries or integrating with powerful plugins to display information from another website, social network or feed.
  3. Once you’ve entered in the criteria for your chatbot, set up AI rules (this step is very similar to beginner programming) to help your chatbot understand and interpret what users reply.
  4. Lastly, you can schedule regular messaging and broadcast to users who opt in to subscriptions.
  5. Test out your creation using the testing feature provided by Chatfuel.
  6. Once you’ve worked out the kinks, publish your Facebook pages new chatbot! It will reply to any user who messages your page.

There is also a feature to promote your chatbot on Chatfuel and many other ways to showcase your bot to your users. This tool is intuitive and great for small business and large corporations alike to build simple chatbots that can act as customer service agents and lead generators.

Did we answer all of your burning questions about chatbots? Let us know on Twitter or send me a response on Medium.

Originally published at on March 6, 2017.