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1 New Message: “Hi, Do You Need Assistance”

1 New Message: “Hi, Do You Need Assistance”

Try to count the number of conversations you’ve had during the last couple of months. You’d hardly be able to, even though the number wouldn’t by any means exceed the limit of a few thousands.

What if I told you that there is someone out there named “XiaoIce” in China who was able to have 0.5 BILLION conversations in the last 3 months? Well, you might have a hard time believing it and for that I don’t blame you, because, is it even humane?

The answer is no. It is not humane. XiaoIce is Microsoft’s chatbot that was introduced to Chinese social media platforms, such as Weibo in 2014. It is the most sophisticated chatbot created thus far.

Yet, the question remains;

What is a chatbot and how did they come to be?

A chatbot is a service that has spread widely recently, even though it has been around for more than half a century now. It is used by businesses and governments to facilitate the process of serving customers, especially in answering standard questions.

I guess you wouldn’t be surprised to know that 80% of 2019’s chatbot interactions were used in customer care and shopping assistance processes.

France, the UK, and Australia are the top countries using chatbots, where 70% have used chatbots to interact with a brand at least once in the last year. This is followed by the USA and Germany with 50% interactions.

As for how it started, we’d also need to answer the question of “when did it start?”

You might think that this is a brand-new invention, or a 21st century technological advancement, however, this is not the case. The fundamental tenets and machine intelligence test date back to 1950.

Furthermore, in 1966, Joseph Weizenbaum put the previous AI theories into action by developing the first chatbot, which he named “ELIZA”.

Even though ELIZA wasn’t intelligent -or at least that’s how Weizenbaum described it- it fooled many into thinking that they were talking to a real person.

Surprisingly, this was simply done through asking open-ended questions, remembering the answers and turning them back to respondents in the same manner used by humans.

Following ELIZA’s footsteps, many other chatbots were created. Basically, detecting keywords, and responding through different combinations of previously recorded answers. Flow of conversations were reserved through using answers from the past as responses in the future.

Now, ELIZA could be considered to be the great grandmother of 21st century chatbots, and the initiator of machine-human conversations. These include XiaoIce, Alexa, Mitsuku and many others.

Tell us in the comments if you have ever chatted with a chatbot before, and how was your experience with it in the comments below.

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