Chatbots, also known as bots or virtual assistants among several other terminologies are software products that replicate the way humans talk or text with one another. Bots are designed this way so that they can initiate conversations with real people. Currently, chatbots are rolled-out either on web-based applications or as individual entities on standalone mobile applications. The customer service industry sees the maximum adoption of chatbots currently- bots performing the roles of customer service Executives (CSE) or representatives that advise consumers about a variety of topics.
The popularity of chatbots is growing because of the ease of their programmability. Modern software includes ready-made suites and by leveraging them, enterprises can build customized chatbots in no time. For example, bots can be developed for Facebook Messenger, along with several other websites that offer the flexibility to develop not-so-advanced chatbots via a drag and drop mechanism. Another reason for their popularity is their round-the-clock availability and perhaps the fact that integrating the ‘bot’ in a business’ digital outlet helps make the franchise look ultra-modernistic.
Chatbots are built on Natural Language Programming (NLP), the same software that popular intelligent assistants of organizations such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft use. Chatbots use ‘parsing’ to process information presented to them by a user. They respond after the information goes through complex algorithms that are capable of understanding what the user is implying to say. The response is delivered only after the bot is confident whether the user’s question is leading to correct information. Some bots are so advanced that they offer the experience of an authentic human-conversation with the user. However, a lot of bots are easy to spot. Chatbot technology and Natural Language Processing capabilities are mutually exclusive. However, the alignment is such that the evolution of chatbots is directly proportional to the advancement of NLP. Otherwise, they can only be coded via the algorithms that are currently known and more than often bots fail to recognize the subtle differences between human speech & text. That’s frustrating! Not just for the chatbot paradigm, but for every other industry that depends on the optimization of NLP. The large organizations are heavily investing for constant upgrade of NLP, resulting in bots getting better, more human-like on an everyday basis.
Now that we have established a little background and the current status of chatbots, here are ten modern chatbots to look out to.
Endurance is a Russian organization that has built a bot for dementia patients. Dementia is a disease where patients suffer from short-term memory loss and their ability to have meaningful conversations.
The bot identifies deviations in the conversation of the patient in order to report memory-lapses. For an NLP-based system, undertaking such a huge technical challenge seems ambitious.
However, Endurance is constantly upgrading its Bot. More so, the company has kept the project open-source, so that anybody can contribute to the code. The reports of dementia patients can be seen by family as well as caregivers as the deviation logs are made available on the Cloud.
Endurance has currently rolled-out a Russian version of this bot with an English version scheduled to be launched sometime this year.
Casper’s bot development is directed towards insomniacs to create a bot that will distract users from worrying thoughts and hopefully put them to sleep. The company is calling their bot as Insomnobot 3000, one of the coolest names AiThority has ever heard, for a bot.
Insomnobot 3000 is a conversational virtual agent with which users can talk to when the rest of the world is at rest.
The bot is at a fairly nascent stage right now with the responses not always accurate but it is a disruptive idea that screams of imaginative use of a bot.
If the idea of speaking to a bot will actually put people to sleep is ambiguous, it will at least keep them away from scrolling Social Media and the never-ending feeds in it.
Media behemoth Disney leveraged ‘the chatbot’ in one of its recent movies, Zootopia.
The company invited fans to movie screens and opened a channel wherein users could help the protagonist in the movie resolve crimes — a definitive strategy to engage with younger audiences and children.
Users could interact with the bot giving suggestions to solve crimes based on user input. It was definitely a very innovative use of the bot.
Marvel’s bot allows users to interact with Star-Lord, portrayed by Chris Pratt in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
The bot has preloaded responses when users interact with it, so it’s not a truly immersive experience. However, the responses and the bot’s interface comes packed with graphics of that of Marvel comics, ideal for Marvel lovers. The company’s main aim is to sell comics and movie tickets, so it makes sense for the bot to be programmed this way.
But, if Marvel truly goes into full-fledged immersive experiences, their bot could provide users with far richer experiences in the near future.
UNICEF managed to develop a chatbot which adds true value towards developing nations.
Their bot is not talkative but sends out polls regularly to large sets of communities so that they can provide feedback which goes back to UNICEF and becomes their basis for policy development.
The bot is called U-Report and users participating in polls are known as U-reporters. The polls are usually about Social, Economical and political issues that need immediate attention.
As a recent use case, U-report was successfully able to eradicate a social demon in Liberia.
MedWhat’s chatbot is more of an intelligent assistant since it accurately answers a wide range of health-related questions that users may have. Think of it as Google Now but for diagnoses questions.
Built on both NLP as well as Machine Learning, MedWhat’s responses are surprisingly accurate as it learns from behaviors and past questions of users, courtesy Machine Learning.
The bot covers a very wide range of medical questions giving answers based out of peer reviews and scientific papers extending its already rich knowledge base of medical expertise.
Roof – AI is a conversational chatbot that helps generate leads for the real-estate industry.
How it works is that the bot identifies potential leads from Facebook depending on what they are browsing and interacts with them in the friendliest possible tone. Upon being responded to, the bot instantaneously performs a cold handover to a representative who gets in touch with the potential lead.
This can have a tremendous impact on conversion rates. Currently, in the development stage, businesses that want to leverage this technology can get in touch with the organization and reserve it.
NBC’s brilliant bot idea achieves three things –
Makes it easier for news to be searched
As we all know, mornings seem impossible without coming to terms with what’s happening around the world. NBC integrated a bot on Facebook that interacts with users about their preferences in news pieces. The bot then prepares a customized feed and pushes it towards the user. Considering the amount of news being published, fake and real, NBC is a reputed news agency itself, gave news readers authentic information through a single channel.
Made Facebook happy
The feed suggests news in the video first, before giving an option for text-based content — the video feed pre-integrated with Facebook.
NBC is bound to get a large amount of data about user preferences, demographically depending on the selection of news content by users. This, in turn, will help NBC further tailor their content.
Currently, the chatbot shows a lot of potential about dominating the users’ news viewership options in the near future.
Unilever owned PG Tips’ mascot, the monkey, may not be popular at home but is a synonymous name in almost all British households. Unilever went a step ahead and developed a fully operational monkey-themed chatbot for brand awareness and to promote the red nose day.
Although the bot lacks the charm of its television counterpart made popular via PG Tips’ commercials, it is surprisingly amazing when it comes to answering accurately upon user inputs.
Finally, we had to mention Alice! The bot was developed in 1995 by Dr. Richard Wallace and was instrumental in pioneering the chatbot industry.
Still, live, the bot provides outstanding conversational experiences to users, and, just like all other bots, has its own quirks about linguistic understanding.
The chatbot’s overall layout maintains its antiquity a blaring reminder of how far web design has come when compared to 1995.
Due to an expansive database, Alice’s answers are deep and reflect more understanding about users’ questions.
Spike Jonze’s 2013 Sci-fi flic ‘HER’ was inspired by Alice.
The full form of Alice is –
A – Artificial
L – Linguistic
I – Internet
C – Computer
E – Entity
Bots will be a major focus area for enterprises for customer experience enhancement in the near future.
Those were ten of AiThority’s favorite bots, currently! We will keep the list updated with fresh information.