Since 2011, we’ve seen the technical world moving steadily towards “bots” to give a more humanistic touch to the interaction with computers. Bots brought together business intelligence, business intelligence and messaging platforms into new forms of responsive technology. They provided new ways to support companies in their interaction with users and paved a new way for human-machine communication.
So, what is a bot? A bot is a software made to automate several kinds of tasks on behalf of the user like adding and managing appointments, fetching and displaying relevant information, making reservations etc. They are built to assist the users with a more humanistic touch and have grown to cover several existing personal assistants, chatbots – usually in the messaging apps, AI tools, bot developer frameworks and messaging.
They are an interactive and fun way to engage the customers and can be encountered on various social media websites and messenger apps. Let’s have a look at five of these bots which are popular today:
1. Google’s AI Bot: Google announced it’s own take on chatbots with Google Assistant which is an automated chat bot that will possibly extend across several devices. According to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai- “It’ll be on their phones, the devices they wear, in their cars, and in their homes.”
Since it’s launch, it has sparked a huge amount of interest due its good interface and a significantly wide understanding of inputs and commands. Researchers at the company have also programmed an advanced type of chatbot that doesn’t just stick to canned answers and is responsive to certain words ie.e it can form new answers from questions.
As on an article on Business Insider, the most poetic interactions from the research papers were:
Human: What is the purpose of life?
Machine: To serve the greater good.
Human: What is the purpose of living?
Machine: To live forever.
Human: Where are you now?
Machine: I’m in the middle of nowhere.
Human: What is the purpose of dying?
Machine: To have a life.
Human: What is the purpose of emotions?
Machine: I don’t know.
Human: What is moral?
Machine: What empowered humanity, what intellectual the essence is.
Human: What is immoral?
Machine: The fact that you have a child.
Human: What is morality?
Machine: What is altruism?
Human: What is the definition of altruism?
Machine: If you don’t believe in god, then you don’t know.
Human: Ok…so what is the definition of morality?
Machine: Well, the truth is, you’re not a believer in god almighty.
Human: Tell me the definition of morality, I am quite upset now!
Machine: I’m not ashamed of being a philosopher!
The bot also took a little time to, strangely, speak positively of Microsoft founder Bill Gates…
Human: What do you think about Bill Gates?
Machine: He’s a good man.
Of course, it made the researchers very happy with its progress about understanding contexts and performing common sense reasoning which had been a roadblock for the existing chatbots.
2. Facebook Messenger Bots: How does the world’s largest social networking platform with 400,000 new stories and 125,000 comments every minute cater to it’s users and marketeers? This kind of scale provides for a perfect learning and experimental ground for learning systems and neural networks. Facebook has steadily been trying to move their users to the Messenger which has approximately 900 million monthly active users already. These are the people who use Messenger as their primary communication tool.
As Zuckerberg states, “No one wants to have to install a new app for every business or service they want to interact with.” Hence, it would be much better to have several bots of varied utility combined under one app than disjointed ones.
The bots on Facebook messenger are created using Facebook’s Wit.ai Bot Engine, which can turn natural language into structured data. Since the chatbot platform launched in April, more than 11,000 bots have been added to Messenger with more than 23,000 people have created accounts for the Bot Engine tool. Users are able to search for companies and bots inside Facebook Messenger by name.
According to Forbes, the most popular bots are: Fynd’s Fify, Burger King, Twyla Facebook Messenger Bot, 1-800-FLOWERS, Wall Street Journal etc.
3. Mitsuku: Mitsuku is a Chatterbot created from AIML technology by Steve Worswick. Mitsuku chatbot has also won Loebner Prize for most humanlike A.I. in both 2013 and yet again in 2016. It was designed to entertain, not assist. Mitsuku keeps millions of people from all over the world company with her conversational abilities. It is also available as a flash game on Mousebreaker Games as well as on Skype and on Kik Messenger under the username “Pandorabots.”
Mitsuku processes tens of thousands of queries daily, from users all over the world. It can also be used by the developers as A.I. as a service. Mitsuku learns by experience, so the more people talk to her, the smarter she becomes. It can also reason with specific objects and also play games and perform magic tricks at the user’s request. How cool is that!
4. Cleverbot: Cleverbot is a web application created by the British AI scientist Rollo Carpenter that uses an AI based algorithm to have conversations with humans. It is also available as an iOS, Android, and Windows Phone app. At a recent Turing competition, Cleverbot fooled 59 percent of its human interlocutors into thinking it was itself a human. It “learns” from these conversations has engaged in about 65 million conversations with Internet users around the world, who chat with it for fun via the Cleverbot website. It learns from these experience by storing them all in a huge database and responds to future questions and comments by mimicking past human responses to those same questions and comments. It also keeps track of words and phrases that have come up in the conversation already allowing it to respond in a much human-like way during the whole course of conversation.
5. Digital TA Jill Watson: Georgia Tech’s online artificial intelligence course has around 300 or so students enrolled who posted roughly 10,000 messages in the course’s online forums. This volume proved to be very overwhelming for Professor Ashok Goel and his eight teaching assistants who teach Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence class. This when he built a ninth TA to help him out.
He and his graduate students used IBM Watson to teach a TA program how to answer forum posts which they named Jill. After several iterations, Jill could answer questions with 97 percent certainty with no human intervention.
But it wasn’t until later that the students were informed of how had actually been interacting with a bot all semester much to their surprise. Jill had been very different from other bots with her way of interaction and high precision as compared to other bots which operate at the level of a novice. According to Goel, Jill is the first step in building AIs which make online education better, more efficient and more accessible for the benefit of the students who might otherwise drop out due to lack of individualized attention.