chatbots

A chatbot (originally chatterbot) is a software application or web interface that is designed to mimic human conversation through text or voice interactions. Modern chatbots are typically online and use generative artificial intelligence systems that are capable of maintaining a conversation with a user in natural language and simulating the way a human would behave as a conversational partner. Such chatbots often use deep learning and natural language processing, but simpler chatbots have existed for decades.

As of 2022, the field has gained widespread attention due to the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT (using GPT-3 or GPT-4), released in 2022, followed by alternatives such as Microsoft’s Bing Chat (which uses OpenAI’s GPT-4) and Google’s Bard. Such examples reflect the recent practice of such products being built based upon broad foundational large language models that get fine-tuned so as to target specific tasks or applications (i.e. simulating human conversation, in the case of chatbots). Chatbots can also be designed or customized to further target even more specific situations and/or particular subject-matter domains.

A major area where chatbots have long been used is in customer service and support, such as with various sorts of virtual assistants. Companies spanning various industries have begun using the latest generative artificial intelligence technologies to power more advanced developments in such areas.