No more will you hear about chatbots being the next big thing, because they’re already here, and they’re here to stay. The evolution of artificial intelligence is now in full swing and chatbots are only a faint splash on a huge wave of progress. Indeed, they have become increasingly popular in recent years, 2017 becoming known as the “year of the chatbot”. Data from Google Trends shows over the last five years, search volume around “chatbots” grew 19x as individuals and businesses began to realize their value.
A chatbot is a computer program specifically designed to communicate with human users over the Internet by automatically engaging with received messages. It is an assistant that communicates with users through text messages, a virtual companion that integrates into websites, applications or instant messengers and helps businesses to get closer to customers. For instance, Chatbots leverage chat mediums like SMS text, website chat windows and social messaging services across platforms like Facebook and Twitter to receive and respond to messages. Chatbots can be programmed to respond the same way each time, to respond differently to messages containing certain keywords and even to use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit the situation. The business world is experiencing two concurrent trends related to chatbots — chatbots are more popular than ever and chatbots are more advanced than ever. Today the number of users of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Slack, Skype and their analogs is skyrocketing, Facebook Messenger alone has more than 1.2 billion monthly users.