Recently, new tools have been developed to simplify the interaction between humans and computers, innovations that "newly" came to the market and become increasingly present in different sites and segments: Chatbots or Virtual Assistants. In banking, for example, chatbots and virtual assistants are already essential tools, designed to simplify interaction with customers and reduce operating costs.

What exactly is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is artificial intelligence (AI) software that can simulate a conversation (or a chat) with a user in a natural way through messaging apps, websites, mobile apps or even the phone.
Why are chatbots important? A chatbot is probably one of the most advanced and promising ways of interaction between humans and machines. However, from a technological point of view, a chatbot is just the natural evolution of a question answer system that uses the natural language processing (NLP). Formulating answers to questions in natural language is one of the most common examples of natural language processing applied to systems at various companies.

Brief history of Chatbots

The first conversation bot was written in the US in 1966. It was implemented by Joseph Weizenbaum , computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was named Eliza .

In the early 1990s, the Turing test , which allows you to determine the possibility of thinking by computers. It was with him that we started to improve this tool, it consists of the following: A person talks to the person and to the computer, and the objective is to find out who the interlocutor is – a person or a machine.

Types of Chatbots

We can separate Chatbots into two types:

Simple chatbots: They work based on pre-written keywords they understand. Each of these commands must be written by the developer separately, using predetermined expressions. If the user asks a question without using a single keyword, the robot will not be able to interpret the message and will likely respond with messages like "sorry, I don't understand".
smart chatbots : Rely on artificial intelligence when communicating with users. Rather than waiting for pre-prepared questions and answers, the robot tries to interpret and respond with appropriate suggestions about the subject or with the final answer/action. In addition, all communication made is logged for further analysis and processing.

A very interesting example of the use of Chatbots has been by Google, they have developed a user interface, Google Assistant, but the interesting thing is that they are also making their personal assistant use artificial intelligence to make your life easier and do things for you, see an example applied in real life:

Advantages of Chatbot

As you can imagine, this type of technology brings several advantages for companies of all segments. Therefore, choosing the right solution for your needs is a very important step for the successful implementation of this tool.

  • Productivity. Chatbots provide assistance or access to information quickly and efficiently.
  • Scale. Chatbots allow you to scale customer service quickly and inexpensively, reducing the operating cost of new hires.
  • Efficiency: Chatbots allow you to have effective metrics of your services and audiences, enabling smart and effective adjustments to optimize the service process.

How does a Chatbot work?

Basically, a bot aims at two types of tasks: giving an answer and/or performing an action. Let's take two simple examples of a banking Chatbot:

Example 1: The user wants to know his bank balance

  • User: Hi, would you like to know my bank balance?
  • Robo: Receives the message and analyzes the request: hello, would you like to to know mine Bank balance ?
  • Robo: Identifies the keywords and what action to take and composes the message
  • Robo: Returns the message to the user: Your bank balance is R$1500.33

Example 2: User wants to deposit R$100 in another account

  • User: Hi, I would like to transfer R$100 to Henrique Marques' bank account
  • Robo: Receives the message and analyzes the request: hello, would you like to transfer BRL 100 to the Bank account of Henrique Marques
  • Robo: Identifies the keywords and what action to be performed; Check if there is a balance; Perform the action; Compose the message.
  • Robo: Return message to user: Your transfer was successful.

How do I develop a Chatbot?

If you are not a programmer, I recommend you hire specialized companies in this type of technology, now if you want to play and try to develop there are some platforms that provide the ecosystem to create your Chatbots:

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