Chatbot, what is it? It is the new buzz word in IT world now. It is been there since 1966 (ELIZA) but got momentum recently.
Why do we have software applications? It is to fulfil our needs. Software applications are written for performing specific task to take care of a specific business needs. So, software applications are coming in many different domains, platforms and business. Ultimately, these software applications take instructions/commands and reacts to those in a predefined manner to fulfil the expected tasks.
How different Chatbots are from the software application. In a way, chatbots are also software application. But chatbots are focused on serving the user by interacting with them via a chat medium. The users are widely into messenger boards and messaging platforms rather than on using applications. This is one of the reason, chatbots are gaining good traction and momentum now a days.
The users are widely into messenger boards and messaging platforms rather than on using applications. This is one of the reason, chatbots are gaining good traction and momentum now a days.
So what exactly is a chatbot? Chatbot is a medium by which companies are helping users to interact with their business via chat mode. For example, traditionally the user goes to the web site of a company and shops their products and purchases using the carts and making payments through payment gateways.
Now users can do all of these without going to the web site by using chatbots. With chatbot, users can ask for whatever products they want and ask the chatbot to deliver the same. The entire transaction processing can be achieved via chatbots itself. This will be a more of a conversational transaction between the chatbot and the user.
Chatbots are of two types :
- Functions based on set of rules.
- Advanced bots using Machine learning
Functions based on set of rules, will interact with the user with specific commands. If anything outside of the predefined commands, chatbot cannot understand and cannot be served correctly. These kinds of bots are very limited to specific domain or business and very restrictive.
On the other hand, advanced bots using machine learning are capable of understanding user’s language and react accordingly. Also these bots have the capabilities to constantly learn from the user conversations and keep updating their knowledge using Machine learning.
Advanced chatbots uses Intents and entities to carry out the conversation. From the user’s input, intents are identified and entities are figured out and based on these values the appropriate responses are provided to the user which will look like a human interaction.
Chatbots are using even artificial intelligence. With extra effort in coding, one can easily incorporate the artificial intelligence into the chatbot. There are many tools available now to accomplish this in to your bot.
All these bots are now ported across multiple platforms. E.g Facebook messenger, Slack, Discord, Telegram etc.
Since lot of people use these platforms now a days, it is important to build a chatbot for them. And there is a huge potential for these chatbots in these platforms.
In shot, chatbots are again an application focused on the conversation between the bot and the user in a specific platform on a specific domain/business.
There are many ways one can create a chatbot. Following are some of the popular frameworks and tools. And there are lot of open source tools available too.
- Microsoft Bot Framework
- Rasa NLU
- Bot Builder
Microsoft Bot Framework is easy to build with the knowledge of C# programming. It comes with an emulator to test your bots. It comes with many services which are paid subscription model.
Rasa NLU is a free tool which comes with NLU and artificial intelligence. Phython is used for the development. With a training module, intents and entities can be created and train the chatbot to handle the user inputs. This chatbot can be hooked and deployed to Facebook messenger platform easily.
For installing the RASA NLU please follow the link below.
If you want to install RASA NLU on Windows platform, please follow the link below.
How to create a chatbot from scratch? Please follow the link below.
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