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Chatbots are technologies or services that are available on web sites or in Messenger Services and can answer user queries automatically with the help of artificial intelligence. The term chatbot can be broken down into two words. On the one hand it consists of the English word "Chat" (= conversation) and on the other hand of "bot" (an abbreviation of "Robot", which stands for the "Automat").

What's the difference to normal bots?

The difference between chatbots and bots is that in computer science bots are described as independently running programs that provide their services without human objection. They only have to be initiated once at the beginning. 1] In some cases, these programs are even malicious and can be traced back to botnets that use large Denial of Service (DoS) attacks coordinate. 2] In general, however, chatbots are defined as computer programs designed to simulate conversations with people over the Internet. A chatbot thus enables the conversation between a person and a machine.

artificial intelligence

This requires the use of artificial intelligence in various forms. This communication is only possible via detours using a programming language understood by the computer. The computer can process human language using Natural Language Processing (NLP) by interpreting what is said and deriving the user's intention from it. The intention is then translated into an action that is executed independently by the computer. This action can be either the answer to a question of the user or the action of an action. To realize this, a knowledge base with answers and actions must be stored behind the NLP.

Integration and the future

Chatbots can also be integrated with language assistants such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Microsoft Cortana, which perform requests based on voice and are also referred to as Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA). It is suspected that chatbots will replace both websites and apps in the future. Large technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft offer systems that help chatbots understand and interpret user input. These platforms like Google with Dialog flowFacebook with, IBM with Watson or Microsoft with LUIS are made available to the masses as web services and open the doors to the use of advanced machine learning systems. [1]


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1] Smolinski et al. (2017): Innovations and innovation management in the financial sector, Wiesbaden: Springer.
2] Radziwill, Nicole and Benton, Morgan (2017): Evaluating Quality of Chatbots and Intelligent Conversational Agents, in: Software Quality Professional, vol. 19, no. 3.