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Chatbots are text-based tools that allow humans to interact with a computer, typically to receive information and advice from a computer based on an archived knowledge database specific to a narrow topic. Currently the main use of chatbots is to pop up on websites and enable brief interactions with users to speed their access to finding information.
The technology that drives chatbots is called NLP, Natural Language Processing and nuances of the technology can be characterized as follows:
- NLP (Natural Language Processing) – enables machines to understand human language to improve human to machine interactions.
- NLU (Natural Language Understanding) – focuses on the comprehension and meaning of spoken and written language.
- NLG (Natural Language Generation) – focuses on creating spoken or written response to enable communication with a human.
Teaching machines to interact with humans using natural language is challenging. Sundar Pichai, CEO at Google, said that “language is endlessly complex. We use it to tell stories, crack jokes, and share ideas. The richness and flexibility of language make it one of humanity’s greatest tools and one of computer sciences’ greatest challenges.”
Wai Wong, CEO at ServiceAide, wrote for Forbes that “the benefits of conversational AI in service and support environments could grow dramatically over time as organizations extend AI’s reach into new problem areas and processes to improve service access, resolution times, user satisfaction, cost efficiency, and employee and customer productivity and value.”