When you’ve spotted a “chatbot” on a website or in a marketing campaign, it may seem like a strange concept, but it’s not.
“It’s a very sophisticated bot, with a very strong AI,” says Matthew Smith, a lecturer at the University of Sydney.
“But it’s actually not that complicated to write code that can talk to it.”
For example, a chatbot can tell you whether or not it is a person, and how old it is.
That’s what’s so fascinating about chatbots: they can actually answer questions.
And they can do that even if you don’t know the answers.
“When I talk to the chatbot, it’s almost like a human person.
It’s a voice,” says Mr Smith.
And the chatbots you see online have become more sophisticated.
They’re now able to learn from each other, and recognise each other’s interests.
“They’re all talking to each other and they’re all learning from each another,” says Dr Smith.
The latest example is the chat bot that can help you find the perfect outfit on a new date.
“This chatbot uses data from your online dating profile and uses it to determine the perfect clothes to wear,” he says.
“So if you’re looking for something really stylish, it will ask you what you like to wear and you’ll get the right answers.”
The chatbot is actually a real person.
Matthew Smith has written code that learns from other people.
It has a chatty personality.
It can also tell you if a person is old or young, and is the same age as you.
The AI bot knows when you’re being sarcastic, and it can even understand a human sentence, which can be incredibly helpful.
“I’ve used it in a number of different projects,” he said.
“In some of those cases it’s been really useful, but in others, like this one, it was very frustrating because it was so hard to get it to do what it was supposed to do.”
This chatbot talks to you, so it can learn from you.
“And it has the ability to tell you things about you that you would never get from a human being.”
It’s all about learning, says Dr David Farrar.
“Chatbots are learning machines that learn from other humans,” he told ABC News.
“The idea is that they are not going to learn what you want to learn about yourself, they’re not going at it like a person.”
The same AI bot can also understand what you’re saying, so you can reply to it, and get answers back.
“We’re talking about this really powerful technology that is now being used to do things that were once considered impossible, and to actually make some people really happy,” he added.
So how can you make a chat bot do what you need it to?
“You need a couple of things,” he explained.
“One is that the bot needs to be human, because you’re not a robot, and that means you need to be able to type, type, and type, which is really hard.”
The second thing is to find a suitable person.
“For the most part, these people are people that are in your social circle, or people that you know from social networks,” he explains.
“Sometimes you’ll find that there’s a chat with someone you like, but other times you may find a chat you don´t even know about.
So it’s important to be selective.”
So what’s the best way to make a bot that will understand you?
“The easiest way is to use a tool like Siri, which was a great first step, but you can also do things like AI learning,” he concluded.
“You can use other apps like Alexa or Cortana to do that.”
For more chatbot information, click here.