Chatbot 101 – What are they and what are they used for?

November 20, 2019
By Botpress Team

A Chatbot is a type of artificially intelligent agent that can perform a variety of tasks without the assistance of a human. Chatbots can be used for ordering food, scheduling an appointment, making reservations, and so on.

If you have ever used Alexa or Siri, then you’re already familiar with the idea of a chatbot. Ask it to do something and it will respond.

Not only can chatbots perform tasks for us, but they can also understand natural human language and many can even hold a conversation.


How do Chatbots Work?

To explain the exact programming of a chatbot would be difficult, but we can help you to understand how they work by breaking them down into two different types:

  • Rule Based Chatbots
  • AI Chatbots


Rule Based Chatbots:

Rule Based Chatbots are the simplest type of chatbot on the market. These chatbots ask questions and provide users with a series of answers to select from.  Each selection allows the chatbot to gather more data, which eventually allows them to generate a relevant response.

This type of chatbot does not recognize the natural flow of human language, it recognizes commands. 

Companies use Rule Based Chatbots for things like surveys and technical support.

AI Chatbots

This type of bot is trained to mimic a human in certain ways. To do this, they use what is called NLP, or Natural Language Processing. It’s this processing that makes it possible for chatbots to interact with humans in a more conversational manner.

With the help of NLP, AI chatbots can be trained to both analyze and understand human speech and give the proper response.

Though NLP is not yet perfect, AI chatbots do a pretty good job of simulating human conversation. And the more that we use and interact with them, the better they become. Just as you would have to teach a new language to a human through experience, the more experience we give our chatbots, the more they learn about our language.


How are Chatbots used?

Today, we see Chatbots being used everywhere:

  • Siri, Alexa, and similar bots are used as Virtual Assistants to help us create notes, make phone calls, order food, schedule appointments, and answer questions.
  • Chatbots are being used around the workplace to boost productivity and provide customer support.
  • Chatbots are being used to provide Technical Support
  • Chatbots are being used in gaming systems
  • Chatbots are providing us with entertainment
  • Chatbots are being used for online shopping experiences
  • Chatbots are being used to store and gather information
  • Chatbots are being used to analyze data and improve businesses

The list goes on and on!


FAQ About Chatbots:

Are there any security concerns that come along with chatbots?

Chabots pose no more or less security risk than any other type of software. And, like other software, the level of security that you get depends on the specific software that you purchase. Some software has higher security standards than other software, so if security is of a concern than reviewing standards should be made a priority before making a commitment.

Are Chatbots taking over jobs?

Contrary to popular belief, chatbots and artificial intelligence are not a threat to our jobs. Rather than “taking over” human jobs, chatbots are simply helping to facilitate human work and improve productivity.

Many human jobs simply can’t be replaced. The importance of emotional connections and face-to-face relationships in business is something that can never be replaced by Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore, Artificial Intelligence is not in the stage where it can “do it all”. Rather, AI is more focused on repetitive, mundane tasks within limits. And when those limits are reached, it’s still important that there is human backup available.  


Disclaimer: We encourage our blog authors to give their personal opinions.  The opinions expressed in this blog are therefore those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Botpress as a company.