Chatbots and more

This is not the regular programming post, but more of a discussion post and where we are heading with our technology. Alexa, Google Home, Cortona and number of personal assistants are available at our perusal. With these kind of products, we are slowly evolving into artificial intelligence driven technology. Lot of manual labor jobs might be in danger in near future. Politics aside, I am more interested to understand this topic from technology and humane perspective. While we still struggle with lot of other ethical issues with existing technology, AI will only create social conundrums.

What I want to discuss in this post, is more about chatbots. You can think this as a scribbling post. I am just bringing some ideas forefront to build a chatbot using java.

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are crude version of personal assistants. Personal assistants help you in many ways, in process saving you time, providing you leisure. Simplest version of these chatbots are those that answer your questions like “What’s the weather like today?”, a chatbot will connect to a weather website to find out today’s weather and then answer you accordingly. Similarly, on a ecommerce site, I can ask a question by typing “Where can I find this book?”, chatbot will answer “In literature and short stories section”. A chatbot can also help build customer support, taking away the traditional customer support people. In more advance version, same chatbots can build a library based on your likings, dislikings, answers and provide more options for lifestyle.

Wikipedia definition says

A chatbot is a computer program that conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods.

Chatbots are part of Artificial intelligence that has been popularized these days.

Design of chatbots

In this article, we will not be showing any code for chatbots, but we will be building chatbots in next post. This is a post where we bring the idea of chatbot into design. As we discussed the definition of chatbot, we will be building an agent that will chat with us in a natural language that we use for daily communication.

Me: “Hi Mr. Chatbot, how are you today?”

Mr. Chatbot: “I am fine, Mr. Mali. Thank You”

Me: “What’s the day today?”

Mr. Chatbot: “It’s Wednesday today.”

This is an example of conversation how a chatbot would answer. We will build a database which will have natural language processing ability to find out what question has been asked and based on that answer the question as accurately as possible. This chatbot is an experimental build up.

Does it mean it can falter? Glad you ask that, it definitely means it can answer erratic. But it’s ok in our experimentation world, even Google home had his off days.

We will need a chat engine and we will be using plain English to type our messages. We will use AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) to build this chatbot.

In conclusion, I would provide the implementation of this chatbot in next few posts. We will have more discussion about chatbots in future articles.

 

References

  1. AIML
  2. Chatbot
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