In general, if a software can perform a task that is automated, you can call it a bot. However, let us look into the details of what comprises the class of bots called chatbots. Typically there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion on what exactly a bot is.
This is due to the fact that there are so many different uses for bots and all of these play a role in impacting how the average person views a chatbot as.
The definition of a bot that is most intuitive is basically a software that can converse with a human. This means that a human can ask the bot a question and the bot can respond or perform the required action as necessary.
Due to the above way of defining a bot, there can be several misconceptions about what a bot actually is. One of the main misconceptions is that people think that a chatbot talks to a human in the same way that another human would talk to a human. This is very far from the actual truth.
The existing technology and research done has barely scratched the surface of what is possible, and it isn’t nearly advanced enough to mimic an actual human. It is not hard to think that there is a robot or some software that can talk to human in a very natural and seamless way, sounding like a real human being.
There are many such ideas in pop-culture and science fiction. However, practically this is not possible.
Due to this, several people have high expectations as to what a chatbot may be capable of doing, and how immersive the experience may be.
These high expectations cause them to get sorely let down when they see that it isn’t as they imagined.
The other common misconception is that a chatbot can converse only using text or speech. In fact, a chatbot may communicate using any form of media, including graphical widgets or graphic interfaces.
The general trend of chatbots are actually moving in this path. There are several chatbot companies with existing platforms for chatting that allow the use of such graphical interface.
The idea of conversation is quite critical to a chatbot. It does talk to human but it has a very limited spectrum of capability. However, a chatbot has many advantages over humans.
- They can be used 24/7, whenever needed.
- They can usually access the internet so they have a large pool of information.
- They are faster and more accurate than humans in several areas.
They can also complement what a human can do, for instance:
- A chatbot can give suggestions to a human when he needs some assistance.
- It can remind the human to perform some tasks.
All in all, chatbots are very useful to humans, but we have to remember what they are. When we keep our expectations realistic, then we can have a very good experience with chatbots.
Who know, one day in the future we may actually have proper bots that can converse like humans. Chatbot companies in India are working hard towards achieving such goals. Until then, we will have to use the chatbots that exist.