Health Chatbots

The state of chatbots within the industry right now.

Chatbots have always been created with the ideal in mind that programs should converse in a manner which is convincingly like another human. Since 1991. Chatbots have been tested using the Loebner Prize, which challenges bots to converse with responses indistinguishable from a human. The recent big chatbots created by the tech giants such as Facebook have moved away from the ideals of the Loebner Prize of trying to converse in a human manner and instead focus solely on providing information and/or completing tasks on behalf of the user.

As the development of artificial intelligence continues, chatbots are becoming a more popular tool being used within businesses. Over recent years there has been an introduction of chatbots by some of the big tech giants such as Facebook messenger and Skype, but recently Microsoft and Google have begun developing platforms to allow other developers to build their own tailor made chatbots. Chatbots are now primarily found on messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Looper, What’s App etc. and the reason behind this is that in recent years the popularity of Messaging services has out-paced social media, as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1. An Infographic showing the growth of Messaging and Social Networking Apps by measuring their monthly active user base. [1] 

In 2016 when Facebook and Microsoft decided to show their interest and future long-time investment in Chatbots, it had a significant impact on the industry. Due to the supports of these companies the viability of chatbots increased as well as providing a dramatic cost reduction in chatbot development. Over the last few years the large software companies which include IBM, Microsoft, Facebook etc. have released a series of free development tools and frameworks along with vast amounts of data. As a result, it has become easier for developers to create sophisticated and intelligent chatbots that utilize the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Understanding for a relatively small cost.

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