Your Fundamental Guide to Conversational AI

5 minutes read

Ever talked to a chatbot recently and it was so smart and witty which has made you think that chatbots have come a long way for real? Have you wondered what has made bots evolve that much ever since ELIZA; the mother of all chatbots introduced to the world in 1966 from the AI?

ELIZA was just crafted for the mere testing of human to computer interaction but people liked talking to it because It had human-like answers that engaged them. But in fact, ELIZA was just a program that recited canned messages from very limited scripts. Nowadays, chatbots have developed far beyond the recitation of the ready-made scripts with the introduction of huge Artificial Intelligence breakthroughs and Machine Learning advancements.

Most recently, we have been exposed to a new umbrella term that refers to the chatbots-related technologies and all the virtual assistants whether voice-based or text-based ones; Conversational AI. This recurrent term has become the most widely used buzzword in the industry as it describes in a brief way what the chatbots industry has come to evolve into by saying that chatbots are now functioning using AI, natural Language Processing (NLP), and backed with heaps of data to which they are trained to replicate the human interactions and become the ultimate conversational assistants for the different businesses nowadays.

What is the Difference between Chatbots and Dialogue Systems?

When looking at the chatbots and to get what conversational AI is offering this kind of assistants, it is very important to note the difference between the Dialogue Systems and the Chatbots.

According to a Stanford paper published in December 2020 by Daniel Jurafsky & James H. Martin, the Dialogue Systems have been defined to fall into two categories;

Task-oriented dialogue agents which [sic] use conversation with users to help complete tasks. Dialogue agents in digital assistants (Siri, Alexa, Google Now/Home, Cortana, etc.), give directions, control appliances, find restaurants, or make calls. Conversational agents can answer questions on corporate websites, interface with robots, and even be used for social good…”

The same paper also defines chatbots in contrast to those two categories of dialogue systems as follows;

Chatbots are systems designed for extended conversations, set up to mimic the unstructured conversations or ‘chats’ characteristic of human-human interaction, mainly for entertainment, but also for practical purposes like making task-oriented agents more natural…”

Conversational AI is contributing to the evolution of this second type, which is chatbots, by scaling their potentials with robust data and the ability for understanding diverse intentions and hence contributing to customer experience development.

By this, the mission of conversational AI can be summed up in enabling the maintenance of long natural-feeling conversations, answering questions, providing reliable and controllable responses, facilitating lead generation and transferring knowledge and skills from one task to another.^


Now, the question is, how can conversational AI benefit your business?

The evolution of this paradigm shift created by conversational AI can be seen in platforms that offer you the chance to deploy their tools with no-coding processes. This enables you to have your digital assistant without wasting your human resources working on it to represent the right tone and value of your business.

Furthermore and most importantly, conversational AI platforms have developed now to maintain a top-notch customer experience where live chat can be managed alongside the bot conversations, again making it easier for supervision, insightful analysis and constant optimization.

Enabled with massive data and advanced training tools, conversational AI platforms contribute to the lead generation and sealing deals even because with NLP interwoven with AI, they are more insightful on the side intentions understanding and conversation management.

^ According to Microsoft Research: “Robust Conversational AI with Grounded Text Generation” published in September, 2020.