Now more than ever, Artificial Intelligence and chatbots are topics we hear about daily. However, do you know all about these concepts?
Know all the details about AI and find out if it is so fundamental for your chatbot to have the best possible performance!
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence or AI: a subject much talked about, and its end will not be near. On the contrary, the tendency is to grow and evolve.
The Brief History of Artificial Intelligence
Although it seems a recent theme, it’s relatively old.
It’s true! Artificial Intelligence is about 70 years old! Still, some say it comes from much earlier, more precisely from the 14th century.
Artificial Intelligence, as we know it today, is one of the broadest areas of Computer Science. And it’s long gone from just being a philosophical thought.
In 1950, Alan Turing wrote a paper suggesting how to test a machine’s thought, believing that a system could have a fluid conversation with a human.
Soon after, the crossing of this theory with the Hodgkin-Huxley model – a brain model that showed neuronal electrical networks – triggered even more interest in the area of AI.
But it was short-lived, since in the early 1970s, due to the lack of technology evolution, the investments and interest ran out.
The First AI Winter
Soon after, in the 1980s, the AI research resumed.
However, from 1974 to 1980, the research hibernation period was no less remarkable and was called “The Winter of AI.”
The resumption of AI studies took place due to the advances in fifth-generation technologies from the Japanese.
The United States and England didn’t want to fall behind in the race to become the world’s computer leader, so they joined forces and went ahead with funding.
Expert Systems and the Second AI Winter
In the early ’80s, Expert Systems appeared. These computational systems simulated the ability of a specialized human to make decisions.
To automate some processes and save companies a lot of money, they were adopted internationally by several sectors, such as banking, health, and retail.
However, between 1987 and 1993, the development of Artificial Intelligence suffered another period of a pause due to the slowness and failures of the systems, compared with others that were emerging.
It’s important to note that, in parallel, there was also a development in sciences such as Cybernetics and Neural Networks.
What are Chatbots?
In 1990, AI research changed course.
The new focus was what would be called an “intelligent agent,” being able to perform numerous tasks, such as online shopping, web search, among others.
“Chatbot” was a term created in the ’90s, and it came from the word “chatterbot,” invented by Micheal Mauldin. They would also be known as talkbots, AI conversational bots, talking bots, among others.
With Artificial Intelligence, these systems can maintain a conversation and interact with human beings, either in writing or voice.
Additionally, it was at this time that Cybernetics and Neural Networks had greater investments since they began to use optical character recognition programs and voice patterns.
What’s the Connection between Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence?
For a chatbot to fulfill the stipulated tasks, it’s necessary to have in its programming all the necessary technologies for that purpose.
In this case, the basic function of all chatbots is to communicate with a human. For this, two technologies from AI are essential: NLP and Machine Learning.
NLP or Natural Language Processing is the branch of AI that allows your chatbot to process and understand the requests it receives (language).
On the other hand, Machine Learning allows the chatbot to learn, without human intervention, through the inputs it records in its knowledge base.
For this reason, the larger the sample of examples, the more efficient will be the bot to understand what is said.
For example, with the phrase “I am Maria.” If there’s already information in the system that “I” is a pronoun, “am” a verb, and “Mary” is a name. And that this phrase is the expression used for people to introduce themselves. The bot will then know that all the people who say that phrase, even with variations (gender, name, etc.), are presenting themselves.
How to Build Chatbots with Artificial Intelligence?
Chatbots, like all robots, are created to perform certain functions. In this case, some help in the Customer Support of companies, others serve as personal assistants, etc.
However, all chatbots go through these three steps:
In this first stage, you define your chatbot’s appearance and how it will interact with its users.
In this step, you establish its knowledge base and, in a certain way, specialize the bot in your sector area.
For example, if you work in a bank, you have to feed the system with all the information related to your bank. In this way, whatever question you receive, it knows how to answer it.
3. Performance Analysis
After implementing the bot in your digital contact channels, you can start to analyze your interactions. This way, you can adjust and improve points where the bot is less efficient.
Here’s how you can implement a chatbot faster.
Do all Chatbots Use Artificial Intelligence?
This is a very pertinent question. In the beginning, you may think that all chatbots use AI in their operation. But it is not so.
Just because a chatbot works alone does not mean it has AI. On the contrary, for a chatbot to work alone needs defined “rules” of operation.
However, if you do not have the technologies we mentioned before (NLP and Machine Learning), you will not be “smart” enough and will not be able to learn.
As a general rule, chatbots that do not have AI interact with users very much based on decision trees and keywords. And if you try to ask him a question, you will not get an answer since he does not understand it.
What are the Benefits of Using Artificial Intelligence in Chatbots?
Since chatbots without AI can do little for themselves, a chatbot with Artificial Intelligence is the opposite and can do a lot.
As you may have noticed, it’s beneficial to employ AI chatbots on your company’s digital channels because they can maintain a conversation similar to a person.
Because they possess some degree of intelligence, these systems can automate several processes within companies. And even provide a self-care service to users, allowing them to solve their own issues.
Increase in Speed and Efficiency of Response
By automating certain procedures, they improve your company’s response efficiency. Users wait less time and are therefore more content.
According to studies, one of the main reasons customers resort to company chatbots is how quickly they get an answer.
Optimization of your Team’s Performance
Another point in favor of AI chatbots is to optimize the work of your team.
If the chatbot deals with all the monotonous and repetitive requests, your team will have more availability for the complex processes, which can be more time-consuming.
Chatbots can reduce about 30 % of costs related to Customer Service.
It may seem like a minimal amount, but when you look at each company’s internal expenses, this 30 % can make all the difference.
Increased Leads Generation
In addition to reducing costs, chatbots increase the possibility of generating leads.
Implementing a chatbot on each digital contact channel expands the range of customers and potential customers. Consequently, you can significantly grow the sales of your product or service.
To learn more about the advantages of using different digital contact channels, click here.
Are Chatbots the New Virtual Assistants?
The concepts of “virtual agent” and “virtual assistant” are relatively new in our society and therefore don’t yet have well-established definitions.
But that’s something normal. This is what happens in languages that aren’t dead. There’s the creation of new expressions and their contexts.
“Virtual Agent” is probably the most well established of the two, being related to chatbots and similar entities programmed to perform certain functions.
On the other hand, the term “virtual assistant” still presents some oscillations in its definition.
Some characterize it as a person who offers administrative services in remote work. Others assume that it is the same as “virtual agents.”
Others consider virtual assistants to be bots, such as Siri or Alexa, who have a personal assistant’s role.
To answer the above question, let’s follow the definition that a “virtual assistant” is a person who assists others remotely.
That said, the answer is no.
The chatbots (virtual agents) are not the new virtual assistants. Although they’re a very robust solution, they don’t reach a human being level (yet).
Even though they answer the most frequent questions and speed up certain processes, when users need a more specific intervention, the chatbots directs them to a human assistant.
Live Chat is a tool present in the Visor.ai platform, which allows the combined work between chatbots and Customer Service teams. Plus, it allows the conversation between users and human assistants.
Learn here why it is essential for your company to have a chatbot with Live Chat.
Finally, answering the question that brought you to this article: yes, Artificial Intelligence makes your chatbot much smarter!
It’s the AI that makes your chatbot able to perform more complex tasks, as well as understand its users and answer them properly.
Maybe it won’t be at the point you want yet, but that’s the magic of technologies like this.
They’re always evolving. And with them come new developments that revolutionize our world in the blink of an eye.
That said, entering the world of chatbots can be very easy. Just talk to Visor.ai and find out how you can automate your services easily and quickly! Contact us now!
Design: Marta Ramos; Text: Filipa Perdigão