What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation with an end user. Not all chatbots are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), but modern chatbots increasingly use conversational AI techniques such as natural language processing (NLP) to understand user questions and automate responses to them.

Generative AI-powered chatbots

The next generation of chatbots with generative AI capabilities will offer even more enhanced functionality with their understanding of common language and complex queries, their ability to adapt to a user’s style of conversation and use of empathy when answering users’ questions. Business leaders can clearly see this future: 85% of execs say generative AI will be interacting directly with customers in the next two years, as reported in The CEO’s guide to generative AI study, from IBV. An enterprise-grade artificial intelligence solution can empower companies to automate self-service and accelerate the development of exceptional user experiences. 

FAQ chatbots no longer need to be pre-programmed with answers to set questions: It’s easier and faster to use generative AI in combination with an organization’s’ knowledge base to automatically generate answers in response to the wider range of questions.

While conversational AI chatbots can digest a users’ questions or comments and generate a human-like response, generative AI chatbots can take this a step further by generating new content as the output. This new content can include high-quality text, images and sound based on the LLMs they are trained on. Chatbot interfaces with generative AI can recognize, summarize, translate, predict and create content in response to a user’s query without the need for human interaction.

The value of chatbots

Chatbots can make it easy for users to find information by instantaneously responding to questions and requests—through text input, audio input, or both—without the need for human intervention or manual research.

Chatbot technology is now commonplace, found everywhere from smart speakers at home and consumer-facing instances of SMS, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, to workplace messaging applications including Slack. The latest evolution of AI chatbots, often referred to as “intelligent virtual assistants” or “virtual agents,” can not only understand free-flowing conversation through use of sophisticated language models, but even automate relevant tasks. Alongside well-known consumer-facing intelligent virtual assistants—such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT—virtual agents are also increasingly used in an enterprise context to assist customers and employees.

To increase the power of apps already in use, well-designed chatbots can be integrated into the software an organization is already using. For example, a chatbot can be added to Microsoft Teams to create and customize a productive hub where content, tools, and members come together to chat, meet and collaborate.

How chatbots work?

The earliest chatbots were essentially interactive FAQ programs, which relied on a limited set of common questions with pre-written answers. Unable to interpret natural language, these FAQs generally required users to select from simple keywords and phrases to move the conversation forward. Such rudimentary, traditional chatbots are unable to process complex questions, nor answer simple questions that haven’t been predicted by developers.

Over time, chatbot algorithms became capable of more complex rules-based programming and even natural language processing, enabling customer queries to be expressed in a conversational way. This gave rise to a new type of chatbot, contextually aware and armed with machine learning to continuously optimize its ability to correctly process and predict queries through exposure to more and more human language.

Modern AI chatbots now use natural language understanding (NLU) to discern the meaning of open-ended user input, overcoming anything from typos to translation issues. Advanced AI tools then map that meaning to the specific “intent” the user wants the chatbot to act upon and use conversational AI to formulate an appropriate response. These AI technologies leverage both machine learning and deep learning—different elements of AI, with some nuanced differences—to develop an increasingly granular knowledge base of questions and responses informed by user interactions. This sophistication, drawing upon recent advancements in large language models (LLMs), has led to increased customer satisfaction and more versatile chatbot applications.

Common chatbot use cases

Imagine a chat buddy that can answer your questions on a website, like a super helpful friend. That’s basically a chatbot! Early ones were simple, like those old choose-your-own-adventure books. You had to pick specific words to move ahead. Not very fun!

Now, chatbots are smarter. They use fancy computer stuff (AI) to understand what you actually mean, even if you use weird words or typos. They can then answer your questions in a normal conversation way, just like talking to a real person.

These super-powered chatbots can even be used for things like booking appointments or reminding you about stuff.  They’re like mini-helpers that are always available, day or night! You might find them on websites, messaging apps, or even chatting with you on your phone. 


What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates conversation with humans. While early chatbots were simple, relying on pre-programmed responses, modern chatbots use advanced technology like Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand user questions and respond in a natural way. Generative AI is taking chatbots to the next level, allowing them to create new content and answer complex questions.

How Do Chatbots Work?

There are two main types of chatbots:

  • Simple Rule-Based Chatbots: These chatbots rely on a predefined set of questions and answers. If your question doesn’t match one of these, they may not be able to help.
  • AI-Powered Chatbots: These chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the intent behind your questions, even if you use informal language or typos. They can then access a vast knowledge base to find the information you need or complete tasks you request.

What are the Benefits of Chatbots?

Chatbots offer several benefits for both users and businesses:

  • Users: They can get information and complete tasks 24/7 without waiting on hold or for business hours.
  • Businesses: They can provide customer service, answer frequently asked questions, and automate tasks, freeing up human employees for more complex work.

Where are Chatbots Used?

Chatbots are becoming increasingly common and can be found in a variety of places, including:

  • Websites: Many websites use chatbots to answer customer questions and provide support.
  • Messaging Apps: Chatbots can be integrated into messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to chat with businesses directly.
  • Smart Speakers: Virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant use chatbot technology to understand your voice commands and respond accordingly.

Mobile Apps: Some mobile apps integrate chatbots to provide in-app customer service or answer user questions.