Custom AI Chat Bots, What Can They Do?
These days, Chat Bots are available in all shapes and sizes. Google, Microsoft and Amazon all have bots that can be quickly deployed by users who do not know how to program.
Custom Chat Bots can do so much more than just what these cookie cutter bots can accomplish. Anyone with experience of using Google Home or Alexa know very well that there is a lot of functionality and communication handling that is not being deployed in the multitude of the basic bots. This is because the large providers are using their built up experience and intellectual property to provide a state of the AI for their users. They do not provide that gift wrapped for you to use. Furthermore, their Bots do not know about your organizations custom concerns, requirements, processes and culture.
So what, exactly, can a chat bot do? In a nutshell, anything that another web application or service can do. Depending on where the bot is hosted (AWS, Azure etc), the means by which the bot can accomplish tasks will be different. That said, the list below highlights just some of the things a bot can accomplish.
This is the most common task of a Chat Bot, to engage someone in dialogue. Usually text, but also in voice. This is the control medium of the bot. Users can accomplish things through dialogue with the bot. The dialogue becomes the trigger for other tasks.
Most bot use a service to handle dialogue. For example, you can use Microsoft QnA Maker and/or LUIS Natural Language services. Your can feed files to a QnA knowledgebase, such as a FAQ web page or an excel spreadsheet with questions and answers. The QnA maker service then builds a model from your knowledgebase that is used for the conversation.
Chat Bots can use dialogue to provide rich answers and attachments, such as emojis, images, videos, and adaptive cards and forms.
The Crowdbitz Chat Bot has varied answers to the same questions. For example, it knows over twelve jokes and will provide randomized answers based on certain inputs.
Image Analysis and Machine Vision
Chat Bots can utilize other AI services such as Computer Vision. For example, you can use a Chat Bots upload attachment functionality to allow a user to upload an image to the bot. The bot can then hand off the image analysis to another service, and feed the information back to the user. This can allow a Chat Bot to, analyze an image from a user and then retrieve matching images, or metadata information about the image.
Chat Bots can use Machine Learning to improve natural language. You can create a feedback loop between your Chat Bots conversation logs and machine learning resources to allow your Bot to improve its language skills with minimal human input.
Calendars and Booking
Chat Bots can reach into calendars to allow booking. This means that a bot could setup meetings for a company or individuals, allow users to add events to their own calendars. This can be used together with Natural Language and APIs to enable a bot to do things like book plane tickets or hotel rooms.
Bots can escalate and hand off communication. They can use text messages (SMS), multimedia messages (MMS), email, or even voice calling. They can also create tickets and feedback information to the user.
Bots can of course read, update, add and delete information from databases and other sources. For example, Bots can capture dialogue to a database for review, gather input from users, provide dialogue responses based on database queries, as well as allowing activities such as eCommerce.
Bots don't need to just answer with text. Their response can be rich, incorporating video, images, links, documents, text messages, voice mail etc. A response can be made up of multiple components, for example giving an answer while also sending a text message and updating a database.
Bots are really just a form of asynchronous web application. They can do anything that another cloud based web application can do. Since they are designed from the ground up to be cloud based and portable, they work on almost any platform and any browser, and can be embedded in other services such as Alexa or Microsoft Teams. It really comes down to what a bot CANNOT do. At the moment, that is invent a good joke, paint a cool picture, play some jazz, or meet you for coffee.