Chat bot – computer character designed to communicate with humans by chat

A chat bot is a computer character which, through natural language-style dialogs with humans, performs various tasks, such as answering questions, helping them to navigate websites and assisting them with advertising.

Typical usage

Chat bot leading a conversation with human

Chat bot, chatbot or chatterbot, can be found on screens and in the virtual worlds, but also in the real world, for example holographically projected or as physical talking and responding puppet, toy or robot. Often, chat bot appears online and in instant messenger programs such as Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger or Google Talk, where a chat bot is part of the buddy, contact or follow list of the human user. Chat bot appears on many other platforms as well, such as social networks (e.g. Facebook), virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) or mobile devices (e.g. iPhone).

Chat bot can either look like a human being, or a digital avatar, an animal, alien or may have an image that does not look like a living creature at all. Usually, chat bot has human name such as Tim, Anna or Alex.

A representative example of a chat bot is A.L.I.C.E., brought to artificial life in 1995 by Richard Wallace. The A.L.I.C.E. bot participated in numerous competitions related to natural language processing evaluation and obtained many honors and awards, and it is also worth mentioning that this chat bot won the Loebner Prize contest at least three times, it was also part of the top 10 at Chatterbox competition, and won the best character/personality chat bot contest.

This video shows a conversation with a few online chat bots, among them the famous chat bot A.L.I.C.E..

Among the most awarded and honored chat bots, the following are worth mentioning:

In combination with advances in technology, chat bots became available on multiple platforms outside Internet, for example A.L.I.C.E. is nowadays available on iPhone, and 2 times Loebner Prize contest winner Cleverbot is also available on iPhone and iPad.

3 Helpful ideas to make your own Chat bot from scratch

AIML, Artificial Intelligence Markup Language developed by Richard Wallace, constitutes an open standard for creating your own chat bot. AIML file consists of row-type, database-style data combined with hierarchical XML data in each response. This video shows one of spreadsheet-style editors for AIML, Simple AIML Editor (SAE) developed by Adeena Mignogna. The SAE allows botmasters to manage large AIML sets and then zoom in on the templates to edit the responses.

Have you ever dreamed about creating your own chat bot that asks users a few simple questions and, based on human replies, creates new questions to continue the conversation, possibly an endless conversation? Have you thought about putting this chat bot on your Facebook page? Nothing simpler than creating a chat bot by reading and following this step-by-step guide Writing your first Facebook chat bot in PHP using Jaxl library written by a PHP developer Abhinav Singh.

Stack Overflow Q&A site also tried to answer a question: how to realize one-on-one conversation between a human and a chat bot? To find a solution for that question they gathered programmers answers and posted this article How to program a simple chat bot AI?

If you would like to know more about creating your own chatbot, please check our build your own chat bot section or visit our AI Forum community where you will find many experienced botmasters.

Background

The term Chat bot is a composite of two words: chat and bot.

The word chat originates from mid- XV century and is a short form of the verb chatter. As a noun, it first appeared in 1520s. Chat room in the online sense is attested by 1994, from the days when America OnLine (AOL) ruled the Internet.

The word robot is derived from the Czech noun robota meaning “labor”, and is an accomplishment of the cubist painter and writer Josef Capek, older brother of novelist and playwright Karel Capek. The word robot first appeared in 1920 in the Karel Capek’s play “RUR” (“Rossum’s Universal Robots”) and since then this play popularized the word invented by playwright’s brother.

The word bot, in Internet sense, is a short form of robot and originates from XX century. The modern use of the word bot has curious affinities with earlier uses, e.g. “parasitical worm or maggot” (1520s), of unknown origin; and Australian-New Zealand slang “worthless, troublesome person” (World War I -era). The method of minting new slang by clipping the heads off respectable words does not seem to be old or widespread in English. Examples: za from pizza, zels from pretzels, rents from parents, are American English student or teen slang and seem to date back no further than late 1960s.

The word Chat bot is a short for chat robot, a computer program that simulates human conversation, or chat, through artificial intelligence engine. Typically, a chat bot communicates with a real person, but applications are being developed in which two chat bots can communicate with each other.

Chat bot is a slightly modificated term of Chatterbot. Our page about chatbot (without the space) is even more extensive than this page.

Examples of Chat Bots

Chat Bot pages

Although we use chatbot as the main synonym on this website, please do not be confused. There are more than 161 synonyms in use by academics, business and chat bot enthusiasts! It is simply a matter of reading between the lines.

Please check out our main directory with 1376 live chat bot examples (an overview as maintained by developers themselves),
our vendor listing with 256 chat bot companies
and chat bot news section
with already more than 369 articles! Our research tab contains lots of papers on chat bots, 1,166 journals on chat bots and 390 books on chat bots. This research section also shows which universities are active in the chat bot field, indicates which publishers are publishing journals on humanlike conversational AI and informs about academic events on chat bots. Also, check out our dedicated tab for awards, contest and games related to the chat bot field,
various forums like our AI forum by chat bot enthusiasts
and add any chat bot as created by yourself and your colleagues
to our chat bot directory. Please do not forget to register to join us in these exciting times.

A selection of pages on this website using ‘chat bot’:

Alternative usage of Chat Bots

The term chat bot (or sometimes just bot) can also be used in the meaning of an automatic chat responder program. The article How to Create a Chat Bot for Yahoo Messenger written by Chelsea Hoffman, explains how quick and easy it is to create a Chat bot responder containing unique and accurate responses to general phrases, words and questions that are used in Yahoo messenger.

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