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Building a chatbot from scratch

Published on 15 March 17
Building a chatbot from scratch - Image 1
The first chatbot was created more than a half of a century ago. Yet, nowadays everyone seems to be infected with the idea of it's creation. This fact can be explained by the evolution of Artificial Intelligence, which has been dramatically accelerated over the past few years. To single out all the necessary steps which you need to perform to develop a mobile application with a bot, we need to deal with the concept of the chatbot.
What does Chatbot mean?
In a simple phrase, it’s a program that is able to communicate with people like a real human. Usually, chatbots provide customers with requested information (about the weather forecast, nearest shops or places of interest). The other function of chatbots is to carry out small tasks, such as restaurant table reservations, or airline tickets booking.
Mostly, you can find chatbots in various messaging applications or this program can be represented as a personal assistant. The primary task of them was to engage user into the thrilling process of communication, thusly boosting the popularity of applications.
If you think that chatbot is a necessary component of your future project, then you need to pick the type of a bot you want. As a matter of fact, we define two of them:
  • Chatbots, which work using machine learning algorithm.
  • Chatbots, which work on specific commands.
Of course, the second group is much easier to build, however, such bot will answer only to predetermined questions, all other commands are ignored.
Anyway, if you want your messenger to copy the conversation of real people, literally you want your app to learn itself, then, of course, you need it to be based on the machine learning technology. The bots powered by Artificial Intelligence are much more progressive than the chatbots with predefined behaviour.
How machine learns
By all means, it’s far too early to talk about fully-featured Artificial Intelligence yet. However, at this point, we can build self-learning programs, which is a huge leap forward to AI buildup. Programs, which use Machine learning algorithm, are able to memorise past experience and patterns and learn from them. The more you talk to your bot the better it becomes.
But what makes the program so humane-like? How can a bot communicate as a real person? Well, this technology is called Natural language processing, and it combines natural language understanding and natural language generation, along with connecting language with machine perception and managing human-computer dialogue systems.
Applications with ML
The main criteria here is communication! However, we can implement ML not only in messengers but in many other applications, here are only a few of them:
  • Cooking applications. Now it’s not just a list of recipes anymore, it becomes a real helper, who can advise the best options or pick up a dish for a special occasion.
  • Delivery and retail apps. Here the chatbot becomes a personal assistant, and your shopping now is a fun and entertaining pastime.
  • Weather application. It’s not difficult to develop another weather app but how will it differ from hundred others the same applications? Chatbot will change everything, it will deep your users into a new reality of user experience and they will never want to use anything else.
  • Learning app. What can be better than a teacher, who you can talk to and who will correct and explain all your mistakes? It’s like you are attending real lessons but at a time and in a place it is convenient to you.
Chatbot, bring it to life!
If you think that chatbot is something you’ve missed building your app, and now you have a serious intention to build it into your existing project. Or your project is still on the paper and you are just thinking through the functionality, then let’s look at the basic steps we need to perform to enliven our beast.
You may be surprised but you can find lots of assistance creating your chatbot, there are actually lots of programs which may help you here. Such services as Facebook Messengers bots, Botkit, Telegram bots, Pandorabots and, or even non-coding services, like Chatfuel or Botsify allow you to create a program bot without a line of code.
Anyway, there are lots of technologies you can apply to achieve your goals. Yet, it’s much more important to figure out how to make your chatbot interesting for people, make it funny and useful. To accomplish it you need to forget about long answers, the dialogue with the bot should not remind of a lecture, I’m sure everyone knows how to use Google search and it’s not the kind of answer users want to hear from your program. What they really want is a dialogue, I mean real interaction! So, your bot’s replies should be formed on the base of real conversations and should copy one. Remember, you ought to update your bot from time to time, your users’ feedbacks should help you with it. Read comments from users and enhance the bot in line with wishes from the customers.
To conclude, of course, it`s up to you whether you need or not the chatbot in your project. Yet, before you make a final decision, chew this idea over, think what potential horizons the chatbot can broaden and how it can advance your application.
This blog is listed under Development & Implementations Community

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