What is a chatbot and how does it work?

In today’s digital age, individuals and businesses need new technologies to survive and thrive. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use chatbot technology. In this article, we will examine these chatbots, which are widely talked about these days.

A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate a conversation with human users. It uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand the user’s intent and respond with the most appropriate responses.

Essentially, a chatbot is designed to automate customer support and provide timely, accurate and helpful responses to customer queries. Chatbots can offer a cost-effective and effective way to provide customer service and create a personalized customer experience.

This is a complete guide to a technology that aims to revolutionize the way machines interact. We are talking about a chatbot, a natural language system that can understand us and, as a result, provide the necessary answers to our questions. But what’s behind all this?

What is a chatbot?

The term chatbot is a compound term. First, chat, that is, conversation, is primarily written. The latter is derived from bot, which comes from the word robot. In this way, we are talking about a robot that can talk.

A chatbot is an automated program that uses artificial intelligence to simulate a human conversation for a number of applications. A chatbot can engage in simple or complex conversations, collect data, and deliver a personalized experience based on the user’s past conversations and actions.

Businesses use chatbot technology to optimize customer service and create a personalized experience. Chatbots can be programmed with a set of rules that allow them to simulate a human conversation. Rules can include if-then statements that specify how to respond when certain user input is received.

The most common way a chatbot uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) is to understand the user’s intent. The chatbot determines what the customer wants and gives them the appropriate response without requiring the attention of a human, it can process thousands upon thousands of requests simultaneously.

Types of chatbots

There is not just one type of chatbot, but several different types. This will depend on the way it is implemented or its purposes. For example, we can distinguish:

  1. Rule-based chatbots: These are designed to provide the most basic functionality. They use a set of rules to determine the most appropriate response to a customer. Rules-based chatbots often have a limited vocabulary and can only respond to a certain number of queries.
  2. Artificial Intelligence Chatbots: They are designed to answer a wider range of queries as they have their own artificial intelligence, unlike their predecessors. They are programmed to recognize natural language and can answer a wide range of questions. AI chatbots are designed to understand user input and deliver a personalized response.
  3. Chatbots: Designed to provide a more human-like experience. They use NLP and AI to answer a variety of questions in a seemingly natural way. Conversational chatbots are programmed to understand the context of the conversation and offer a more personalized response.
  4. Hybrid chatbots: Combines different elements of other types of chatbots. They can use a set of rules to provide basic functionality and understand natural language to answer a wider range of queries.

How does a chatbot work?

We can say that there are basically two types of chatbots and their functioning is different in each case. Let’s take a closer look at how each one works.

Rules-based chatbot

Rules-based chatbot is the simplest messaging interaction system. Our intention is not to go into technical details. Therefore, let’s learn how this class of chatbots works by defining some basic concepts:

  1. Database. Rules-based chatbots have a database that contains all the information they need to provide their services. So, so to speak, this is their scenario and they cannot get out of it.
  2. Keywords. The system they use to deliver conversational responses is based on comparing user-entered keywords with provided data.
  3. Rules. Rules are the essential part of this type of chatbot. Often these are defined by if or then conditions, known in English as if and then respectively.

Artificial intelligence based chatbots

AI-based chatbot goes a little further. What are the differences between one system and another? Let’s define the concepts related to this technology again:

  1. Natural language processing. Keywords detected by a rules-based chatbot are set aside. With artificial intelligence, a chatbot can understand people’s natural language and replicate it perfectly. The fruit of this work is nothing less than a conversation closer to the conversation we would have with another human being.
  2. Database. An AI-based chatbot also requires a database. Depending on the use to be given, this will be more or less extensive.
  3. Machine learning. This is something that completely differentiates AI chatbots from rule-based ones. They learn from the user as they talk and can give more precise answers. They also manage to “understand” what the purpose of each query is.
  4. Analysis of emotions. AI algorithms are increasingly understanding a person’s emotions. Therefore, they see if there is a certain degree of anger, if there is an intention to trick the bot, or if they are satisfied with the answers. Similarly, sarcasm is easier to detect when positive expressions are used to indicate dislike of something. This represents a real revolution for companies that want to fully understand their customers’ views.

Ultimately, AI-based chatbots are expert conversationalists that take context and user intentions into account. As if this were not enough, they are fed with information as you interact with them, so in a way they update themselves.