What are chatbots? Why do they represent such great opportunities? How do they work? How are they created? And How can I meet people interested in chatbots?
We will answer these questions in this post. Ready? Let’s go!
What is Chatbot?
Chatbot is a service, governed by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, with which you interact through the chat interface.
The service can include various features, from functional to entertainment, and he himself can be included in any chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.).
Bots? You mean annoying commentators on Twitter?
No, now we are talking about interlocutors in instant messengers who respond to requests automatically. They are pre-programmed to give the user certain information. Companies from a wide range of domains develop bots-assistants.
Where you can talk to them?
Support of bots is gradually added by modern messengers: Telegram was the first to do it, and more recently the Facebook Messenger platform was announced the possibility to create virtual assistants.
Bots are also in the Slack messenger for companies, but there bots are oriented to solve business problems.
Does Bot understand words like an ordinary person?
Not really. Bot is an intelligent assistant, but still he is a robot, not a man. With bots you can speak the human language, but they understand only certain words and phrases.
If you write something, that isn’t prewritten in its command code he will not understand you. It knows only a certain set of words-commands.
Well bots are made to read all sorts of news?
No. The general property of good bots is that they simplify the solution of some tasks for a person. I
f there is something uncomfortable, routine or complicated – you can create a bot that will make it simple and fast. So there were bots to pay for services, help with a trip or track a parcel.
To make your Bot, you need to be able to code?
Not necessary. Thanks to special bot designers (for example, Chatfuel), you can create a bot using a user-friendly interface. Quite serious companies, for example, TechCrunch and Forbes, use these bots.
If you want a make a smarter Bot
Then it’s better to write the bot by yourself in any programming language.
There are tools that will greatly facilitate this task – for example, api.ai allows you to convert user requests into a standard form that the computer understands.
For example, the phrase ‘Hey, bot! Tell me, the weather for tomorrow?’ The bot will understand as ‘the weather, tomorrow’. This is called natural language processing.
I came up with a great idea for a bot and I want to create it myself. Where do I begin?
Then you need to decide which platform the bot will work on-it can be Facebook Messenger or Telegram. Moreover, you need to choose the library to connect with Messenger API.
What’s the API?
Messenger API is a system that allows your program to communicate with Facebook or Telegram servers.
To get a special access key to this API, you need to register your future bot – for Facebook you need to create a bot page and application for this bot, for Telegram you just need to write @BotFather and after answering a few questions, he will send the key.
I chose the programming language and platform. What’s next?
First, create a very simple bot. The further actions depend on what platform and language you have chosen.
In the documentation of your chosen tool for bot development, most likely, there is already an example of running code. Run it and try to figure it out.
Once you have understood everything, try adding a new command and starting to implement what was intended. When you are comfortable with simple things, the bot can be gradually improved.
It seems that something worked out. What’s next?
There is no better way to test the usefulness of the bot than to start using it. During testing, non-obvious errors may arise or ideas for new bot functions may appear.
Tell about the bot to friends and colleagues. If you think, that you are ready to submit the bot to all users – add it to the bot catalogs, for example, storebot.me and botfamily.com.
Why are chatbots so promising?
You, probably, are surprised: “Why is someone even interested in chatbots?
They look like simple text-based services … what’s the secret? ” That’s a great question. I’ll tell you why they are interesting for the people.
First of all, people use instant messengers more than social networks.
Secondly, in major people try escape from communication by the phone, because they don’t feel confident enough and simply don’t want to waste the time on conversations.
Ashish Sharma is the Chief Marketing Officer at WeDigTech, a Mobile App Development Company in India.