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Introduction to Chatbots


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Daden Emerging Technology Seminars - Daden Limited is a Virtual Worlds and artificial intelligence solution provider.
Our focus is on using virtual worlds, and virtual personalities to deliver more efficient and effective enterprise systems, saving our clients money, time and carbon, and delivering better understanding and collaboration.

Published in: Technology, Education
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Introduction to Chatbots

  1. 1. Daden Limited Chatbots 101 David Burden Daden Limited © 2010
  2. 2. Agenda © 2010  What is a Chatbot?  How can you use Chatbots?  Why should you use Chatbots?  Discourse – A Chatbot Application  Authoring A Chatbot
  3. 3. What is a Chatbot? © 2010 A chatbot (also chatterbot, chatterbox) is a computer program which attempts to maintain a conversation with a person. - Wikipedia
  4. 4. What is a Chatbot? © 2010 Virtual Assistant Virtual Receptionist Virtual Helper Virtual Agent Virtual Virtual Customer Customer Service Assistant Service Agent Web Assistant Greeter Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  5. 5. What is a Chatbot? © 2010
  6. 6. Demo © 2010
  7. 7. What is a Chatbot? © 2010 Human Cases Modules Management Interface  Text form on web  Personality  Name recognition  Config  Ajax  Core knowledge & memory  Lookups  Sitepal avatar  Smalltalk  Maths  Case creation  Virtual world  General  RSS/News  Domain  SMS knowledge  Weather management  IM  Danger words  Wikipedia  Log management  Email  etc  Amazon  System  etc configuration  MSN etc  etc  etc
  8. 8. What is a Chatbot? © 2010 Web Page IM/MSN Parsing/NLP SMS Human Knowledge Management Interface Email Reply/NLG WAP/Mobile Virtual World Modules Web Service Internet Apps DBases WebApps RSS etc
  9. 9. Is it Artificial Intelligence? © 2010
  10. 10. How can you use Chatbots? © 2010
  11. 11. How can you use Chatbots? © 2010
  12. 12. Greeters/Newscasters © 2010  Not interactive  Provide a welcome to the site  Draw attention to key features/offers on specific pages  Can be scripted within the page or through a Content Management System (CMS), or through RSS  MUST change content often  Different messages for repeat visitors  Simple to implement, low risk
  13. 13. Survey Takers © 2010  Step users through survey questions in a more conversational style  Anecdotal evidence suggests a more intimate relationship between chatbot and user, so possibly more truthful answers  Can include branching logic  Can switch into full chat mode
  14. 14. FAQ Guide © 2010  Natural language alternative to an FAQ list  Can suggest alternate/related questions  Can load up relevant web pages  Can feed in live data (eg pricing)  Can access web FAQ through RSS  No/limited attempt to engage in conversation
  15. 15. Application Interface/Agent © 2010  Natural language access to large databases/systems  Access systems through web services or dedicated interface  Can load up relevant web pages  Always provides live data (eg pricing, availability)  No/limited attempt to engage in conversation
  16. 16. Virtual Sales/Service Staff © 2010  Brings together many previous functions  Access systems through web services or dedicated interface  Can load up relevant web pages  Provde live data (eg pricing, availability)  Engages in natural language conversation  Mix structured and un- structured dialogue  Builds a relationship and helps the customer  Remember returning visitors
  17. 17. Other Roles © 2010  Teachers, trainers, mentors and eActors  Interpreters for the visually impaired  Personal assistants  Virtual receptionists  Kiosk guides
  18. 18. Virtual Worlds © 2010  Greeters  Tour guides and receptionists  Sales/service staff  Teachers, trainers, mentors and NPCs  Machinima eActors  Personal assistants  Colour
  19. 19. Why should you use chatbots? © 2010
  20. 20. Common Advantages © 2010  Differentiate your site/campaign/content  Increase recall and memorability  Consistent interface to multiple systems  Build identification/empathy  Increase usage and loyalty  Increase trust  Improve usability  Let human staff focus on more complex issues
  21. 21. Cost Metrics © 2010 It’s Time To Give Virtual Agents Another Look, Forrester Report, Dec 2009
  22. 22. Sales/Service Advantages © 2010  Improve search "the use of avatars on Dell's site found that users who interacted with them were twice as  Increase site visits likely to give personal information than those who didn't"  Increase sales "online campaign featuring avatars for V Graham Norton and Celebrity Big Brother....  Increase retention generated click-through rates of 30%".  Increase information "Revenues increased by £6,000 a month" gathering "Sales increased by 35%" "Click-through rates increased by 250%" "62% of visitors converted to registrants" "Site traffic lifted and sustained by 200%" "An increase in trust" "An increase in usability"
  23. 23. Sales/Service Advantages © 2010 AMA Journal of Marketing – Jul 2007
  24. 24. Education Advantages © 2010  Improve engagement "when avatars are used for e-learning content, use of the online courses increases by 400%"  Increased course completion  Increased retention
  25. 25. Who Else Is Using Them? © 2010
  26. 26. Who Else Is Using Them? © 2010 “Virtual agents are quickly growing in popularity, and it is very likely that by the end of the decade all major websites will have some type of virtual agent solution to pro- actively assist and sell customers. Approximately 10 percent of the Fortune 1,000 already have them.” – E-Commerce Times, June 2010
  27. 27. Discourse – The Daden Solution © 2010
  28. 28. What is a Chatbot? © 2010 Web Page IM/MSN Parsing/NLP SMS Human Knowledge Management Interface Email Reply/NLG WAP/Mobile Virtual World Modules Web Service Internet Apps DBases WebApps RSS etc
  29. 29. Discourse – User Interface #1 © 2010  Implemented as web service – so the bot can look however you want it to look, or Plain Text Text and Image even sound Flash Avatar Video And Text to Speech And Text to Speech
  30. 30. Discourse – User Interface #2 © 2010  Implemented as web service – so the bot can be accessed from almost any Internet IM/MSN Email environment SMS Virtual Worlds
  31. 31. Discourse – Parsing #1 © 2010  How the bot works out what the user said  Approaches are:  Pattern match – phrase and/or keyword “what colour is the sky”  what colour +sky  Grammar based  Issues of context
  32. 32. Discourse – Parsing #2 © 2010  Discourse uses extend AIML – Artificial Intelligence Markup Language  Supports keywords and phrases  Supports context variables  Google-like syntax  Easy support for alternate words  Support for multiple languages  Pre-processing of input Spelling, text-speak etc  Banned word spotting
  33. 33. Discourse – Parsing #3 © 2010
  34. 34. Discourse – Knowledge © 2010  AIML  Stores “knowledge” in reply string eg “The sky is blue”  Dumb  Triples  “Atomic” level of knowledge  Subject-Predicate-Object (“sky” “has colour” “blue”)  Enables logical deductions etc  Resource Descriptor Framework (RDF) is cornerstone of the Semantic Web  Needs language generation
  35. 35. Discourse – Reply © 2010  AIML  Reply is stored text “The sky is blue”  AIML allows alternate replies  Daden AIML allows alternate words  Triples  Need language generation
  36. 36. Discourse – Modules © 2010  Provide specific additional functionality, eg:  User tracking  Time questions  Maths questions
  37. 37. Discourse – Web Modules © 2010  Why program the bot with information that is already on the web or in corporate databases  Specific modules for:  RSS feeds  News and Weather  Wikipedia  Generic modules for:  RSS search  Web Services (eg SOAP)  Screen-scape  Break-out  Custom modules as required
  38. 38. Discourse – Management © 2010  Web based management  Edit cases and triples  View logs  Edit lookup files  Set configuration  View logs  Sort by score/popularity  One-click case creation  Export Management
  39. 39. Discourse – Training © 2010  Rapid testing and refinement  Display authoring screen alongside chat screen  Enter “bad answer” during conversation to relearn  Enter “learning” mode and type Q&A direct into conversation Management
  40. 40. Discourse – Additional Features © 2010  Banned words  Danger words  Pause content  Default content  Conversation threads  Twitter/blog interfacing  Context management
  41. 41. Discourse - Summary © 2010  Hosted chatbot engine based on an extended version of Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML)  Web form based editing  Google style syntax  Own web services interface to maximum user interface flexibility  Modules to access web services  Web based management  Dynamic training
  42. 42. Authoring a Chatbot © 2010
  43. 43. Bot Strategy © 2010  Need to guide the user through the conversation  Map out as a flow chart  Start with catching general questions and then subtly suggest keywords that the user can use to go to more specific responses, eg: User: Hello Bot: Hi, I can tell you about Daden, our products and services User: Great, what service does Daden offer Bot: Daden provides virtual world building and chatbot design User: What is a chatbot Bot: That is someone like me. I can be used to sell or to help User: How does a chatbot help to sell things? Bot: I can tell the user about products, and access real-time costs through web services User: How do web services work? Bot: I can access RSS feeds from your web site, and extract costing information or any other data I need (of course it's never that perfect in real life!)
  44. 44. The Kipling Way © 2010 How do Daden operate? When was Daden founded? Who owns Daden? Where are Daden based? What do Daden do? What are Daden? I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. - Kipling
  45. 45. Case Dimensions © 2010 What do Daden do? What is a virtual world? Rephrasing What's a chatbot? What does Daden do? What's Daden Subsidiary do? Questions Daden is a virtual worlds solution provider. Daden works with virtual worlds and chatbots. Daden works in SL. Alternate answers
  46. 46. Speech Acts & Adjacency Pairs © 2010 Speech Act Expects Example Example Response WH/Open Question Statement Where are you Birmingham Closed Question Yes/No Are you a computer Yes Been here before No Imperative Yes/No/OK Speak to me OK Statement Acknowledgement My name is Fred Hello Fred Question My name is Fred Why Fred? Statement My name is Fred My name is Halo Greeting Greeting Hi! How are you Farewell Farewell Bye Bye Request Accept/Reject Can I * Sure Offer Accept/Reject Would you * No thanks Complaint Excuse/remedy * does not work Sorry Assessment Agree/Disagree I think * I agree Blame Denial/Admission You shot * I didn't Response “quality”: Preferred Second, Dispreferred Seconds, Non-sequitors
  47. 47. Approaching Case Creation © 2010  VERY Iterative Process  Aim at 1 week per cycle  8+ cycles before live Add Cases Check Logs Locally Test Test With New Users
  48. 48. Typical Project © 2010  Typical Process:  Agree requirement and personality  Design avatar  Gather case data  Create cases, interfaces, modules and configuration  Daden Testing and Tuning  Site Integration  Client Testing and Tuning  Live  Post Live Tuning  2 – 3 months initial development  2 – 3 months iterative testing with different users
  49. 49. Pricing © 2010  £1000 pa licence/hosting  £4000 - £40,000 based on:  split of effort between Daden and client  size of conversation base  bespoke module  Sitepal avatar from $199 pa
  50. 50. Chatbots - Conclusion © 2010 Efficient online self-service is a critical component to the online purchase experience: 57% of US online consumers report that they are very likely to abandon an online purchase if they cannot find quick answers to their questions. However, satisfaction with online self-service has room to improve. To reinvigorate online customer service, eBusiness professionals should give virtual agents another look. Virtual agent technology is evolving, with capabilities including natural language processing and the ability to integrate with enterprise systems. Virtual agents offer compelling business benefits, including enhancing customer experiences, reducing It’s Time To Give Virtual Agents Another Look, Forrester Report, live help costs, and driving cross-sells. Dec 2009