Five things to know about ChatBots

ChatBots are programmed systems that interact with users in areas such as learning, personal assistance, and customer service. Meet them.


They imitate the conversation with a human:  their success lies in this aspect. Whoever interacts with a bot must feel that they are having a conversation similar to the one they would have with someone of flesh and blood, which is why these systems must use a close language, created based on the needs of the user and their way of communicating.


Its programming and modulation:  according to José Ignacio and Javier Perea, bot developers from the Spanish company  Antakira Software, these programs work in three ways: through rules that will make the bot answer the user in a certain way, for example, every time the user says “hello” or “goodbye”, the mechanism will deliver a standard response. Through statistical systems that allow a broader collection of responses and therefore make bots more creative and unpredictable. Finally, there are hybrid systems in which one phase of the interaction can be resolved from rules and the other from statistics. In addition, these are modular developments, that is, they have an input module to detect what the user says, whether writing or speaking aloud, a module that processes this information to generate the response, and another that indicates the response by means of text on the screen or from a speaker.


The first bot in history:  Eliza, developed in 1966 by Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a chat window that intended to recreate a conversation between a patient and a psychologist, so a person would write a comment and The system, based on the identification of keywords, continued the chat making the interlocutor believe that he was speaking with a human. When Eliza didn’t identify any words, she returned the phrase in the form of a question or exclamation.


They also fail:  the advantages of this type of system are linked to the good use that users give them. In March 2016, Microsoft launched the Tay bot via Twitter  , a teenager programmed to chat with young people between the ages of 18 and 24. In less than a day, the bot was shut down due to the inappropriate content of her responses, among other things, Tay said she was in favor of the Holocaust and “hated everyone.” Microsoft blamed users for abusing the bot’s responsiveness and prompting it to post these types of tweets. The film Her , by director Spike Jonze, best original screenplay at the 2014 Oscars, also talks about the risk of bots. In it, a writer falls in love with her operating system, generating a completely atypical relationship.


Bot potential:  “As the power of bots increases, they will be able to take on more complex tasks that do not require physical contact with the user. Specifically, it is estimated that a large number of the services now provided by telemarketers will be able to be supplied through these systems”, explain José Ignacio and Javier Perea. According to them, one of the areas with the greatest potential for this type of technology is health, where prototypes have already been developed that offer psychological care and allow patients with degenerative diseases to identify faces and remember information.

Bots that will surprise you


Amazon Alexa  is a   home gadget , developed by Amazon, that activates when you say the word “Alexa”. It allows you to manage all the home automation of a house and also works as a personal assistant. This system is not yet available for Latin America.

Weobot from Stanford University:  This bot was designed to help patients with depression. It works from simple conversations that do not last more than 10 minutes.

Carla from Avianca:  this chatbot can be consulted through  her Facebook page  and provides help with issues such as check-in, the purchase of flights and itineraries.


Mitsuko:  According to the Leobner Prize, which each year recognizes the bots that best imitate human interaction, this was the best of 2016 and 2013. Your system appears to be an 18-year-old girl, with whom you can talk about any topic , preferably from short sentences.

Talk to Cervantes:  it is a development of the Antakira Software company, which allows the user to have a conversation with the writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra about his life and work.

Has your company already implemented these types of systems? Tell us about your experience.



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