AI Chatbots — The Digitalization of the Human Interaction
In the last few years, there has been a plead of digital trends that are emerging so quickly that it has become almost impossible to keep track of them all. If you consider yourself a “futurist”, you have to be on the constant lookout to be able to keep up with everything. One of the biggest trends is the evolution of artificial intelligence and its use in chatbots, and here is why you should care.
A brief history
What is artificial intelligence, anyway? Shortly, it’s a concept where computers perform tasks that require human intelligence. And no, it is not new at all. The concept dates back to the Greek myths about Hephaestus, the blacksmith who manufactured mechanical servants, and the bronze man Talos, who incorporated the idea of intelligent robots.
It is frequently mentioned throughout history, but the term “artificial intelligence” was officially coined in 1956, at the Dartmouth Conference. The generally accepted definition is the Turing test (you’ve probably seen “The Imitation Game”), first proposed in 1950, as the ability of a machine communicating using natural language over a teletype to fool a person into believing it was a human.
The emergence of the internet and the appearance of smartphones was the turning point that pushed us towards a world of AI. Smartphones are those who made chatbots more mainstream since the most popular apps used on smartphones are those for messaging. It turns out most smartphone users don’t use more than three apps. It is clear now — users don’t like apps that much, they prefer conversation. That’s why chatbots became so popular in such a short time. 2016 was the year of chatbots, but it kind of seems that their time has just begun.
Why do we love them?
A chatbot is basically software you can chat with. The reason why chatbots are so popular today is that you don’t have to use them just to get something done. You can also use them for entertainment and to fulfill your time. So, instead of googling something you want to know about or downloading an app about that particular thing, you can simply ask a chatbot about it. They basically make your life easier.
Then and now
The first chatbot was ELIZA, a program designed by Joseph Weizenbaum and published in 1966. It simulated conversation by using a ‘pattern matching’ and substitution methodology that gave users an illusion of understanding on part of the program. Weizenbaum regarded it as a method to show the superficiality of communication between human and machine. A lot of people actually expressed emotions to the machine, which surprised him very much.
Today, you can do many things by using a chatbot, like order pizza. Domino’s “Dom the Pizza Bot” for Messenger allows you to order a full menu. You can even order one without having a pre-configured “pizza profile”. Taco Bell has a similar one for Slack.
H&M joined Sephora and the Weather Channel by creating a chatbot for Kik Messenger. They have incorporated gamification by showing you pictures at the beginning and telling you to choose one of them. That way they learn more about your taste and what kind of outfits you like. Then, they suggest outfits based on the style you have, which you can like or dislike. If you like them, they take you to their online store and if not, they suggest new ones.
The Weather Channel also have a chatbot which gives you a new way to access personal weather report with weather alerts, current conditions and five-day forecasts. It uses IBM’s natural language and machine learning tools to get to know your weather preferences.
One of the most frequent uses of chatbots is customer service. Companies like AirBnB and Spotify use chatbots on Twitter to provide 24/7 customer service. Productivity bots are also a big deal, since they don’t let you forget any of your scheduled meetings or tasks, and provide you with the news you’re interested in. You can also use them to track your personal finances and get notifications about stock markets. Learn how can you incorporate them in your business strategy here.
Chatbots are actually the place where the most basic type of human interaction is put in the digital space. The future of chatbots is going in the direction where the AI tech will be adjusted even for non-programmers to be able to create them. They would be much simpler, but also very useful. In a few years, you probably will be making your own bots for your own causes. Recent studies show that people born in the ’80s or later prefer texting over talking. So, yes, you should care about them.
Have an idea about an awesome chatbot? Valoso Hub can help you create it.