Apr

CHATBOT PLATFORMS. How to choose the right one?

   
Chatbot platforms are essential tools if you need to build and run a chatbot.
There are many available on the market, big and small, popular and not so much.

Here are some useful thoughts that should help you navigate the complex world of chatbots and conversational AI solutions.

All chatbot platforms can be split into two categories: those that let you create chatbots without any programming, and those that require programming. Now, the idea that you don’t need to possess technical knowledge to build a chatbot seems appealing but the reality is not so rosy. In fact, I have yet to see a professional chatbot created without coding.
Chatbots rely on sophisticated algorithms and advanced knowledge of linguistics. These technologies are so complex that at the moment there are no plug-and-play solutions available. The companies like Chatfuel, Manychat, Flow XO and many others are attempting to fill that void and offer chatbot platforms that are simple in use. The best way to make the chatbot creation simpler is by dropping the need to code them. However this simplicity comes at a price: chatbots made without coding are limited, rigid and in general, primitive.
So to summarize: if you want to impress your girlfriend use Chatfuel. If you need a professional chatbot that delivers on your business goals and provides customer satisfaction use advanced chatbot platforms with programming capabilities.

One of the main, if not the main, tasks of the chatbot platforms is to connect your chatbot to the user interfaces. There are many ways for your chatbot to interface with the world: on Facebook messenger, on the website, on the mobile app, via SMS, on Twitter , on Skype, on Slack, on Telegram, and more. A good chatbot platform should seamlessly connect the chatbot to most of these channels. Chatbot platforms do not make your chatbot smarter. For this you need AI Engines (brief disucssion on AI Engines: http://nmodes.com/entry/2018/03/29/what-are-ai-engines-and-how-choose-one/).

For best results create your chatbot on a chatbot platform, then connect it to AI engine.

One of the top chatbot platforms on the market is Microsoft Bot Framework. It is robust, powerful, with a wide variety of useful functionality built-in. Another good chatbot platform is DialogFlow. DialogFlow has a slightly different architecture in the sense that it is a chatbot platform and an AI Engine all in one interface.

Chatbot platforms can be used to create conversation flow for your chatbot. There are several schools of thought here: some prefer to delegate conversation flow to AI engines. Chatfuel and other tools with the emphasis on simplicity (build your chatbot in minutes, no coding necessary) offer easy graphical interfaces for conversation flow creation. And there is always a reliable option to create conversation flow in an old-fashioned way, programmatically.

Which option to choose? Depends on your chatbot requirements and the business needs the chatbot is expected to address.And if you have questions feel free to ask: http://http://nmodes.com/contact-us/

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

WHAT IS AI TRAINING



AI training is a critical part of conversational AI solutions, a part that makes AI software different from any kind of software previously created.
AI training is not coding.
Unlike all other existing software which is fully coded.

Let us consider a simple example:
We create chatbots for two companies, one company is selling shoes, another is selling cars. From the software standpoint it is one chatbot solution running as an online service accessed remotely or a program available locally. In both cases they are two identical instances of the same software (one instance for the shoes company, another for the cars company).
Yet, for the first company the chatbot is supposed to talk about flip-flops, summer shoes, high heels and so on. For the second company, however, the chatbot is not expected to know any of that. Instead, the chatbot should be able to support conversations about car brands, car models, should know how to tell Toyota Camry from Toyota Corolla, etc. This shoes and cars knowledge is not programmable. It is trainable. It is not coded, instead it is a part of language processing capability that AI solutions like chatbots have. And herein lies the major differentiation and advantage of the AI solutions compared to traditional software.

How to train AI?
There are several ways to do it. Sometimes AI system can train itself, improve its linguistic ability over time. It also can be trained by professional linguists. And in some cases, by the users. The latter is the desirable scenario because businesses know better than anybody else what they want their chatbot to talk about.
It is not easy, given the existing state of AI technology, and usually requires a high level of technical knowledge. You may have heard mentions of intents and entities in chatbot discussions. These are examples of linguistic elements AI training is currently based on.
Without proper understanding of what these linguistic elements are and how language acquisition process works in existing AI systems it is better to leave AI training to professional linguists.

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AI: Our Only Weapon Against Climate Change?



Artificial Intelligence, more commonly referred to as simply AI, has been, since it’s early days, changing our lives in many ways. AI has become one of the greatest inventions of the human mind. When thinking of AI, we do not normally associate AI as being involved in helping farmers grow more crops to feed the exponentially growing population, or helping develop cancer treatment, or even keeping kids safe from trafficking and abuse by finding improper online activities. Instead we think of computers to phones, to self-driving cars and robots. However AI doesn’t just power the gadgets that we have grown so accustomed to in our daily lives, but it is increasingly being used to help solve impending social challenges.

One of these impending social issues is the quite literally hot topic – global warming. The challenges of global warming are growing by the day, as its impacts are becoming more severe and harder to manage. Melting ice caps, severe sever weather changes, extinction of species, are just a few of the consequences of the manmade climate change that is plaguing our world today. Despite widespread acceptance and awareness, the rate at which the world is embracing positive change is unfortunately not fast enough.

Fortunately there are many large companies that are setting an example by using AI to develop new ways in which to battle global warming. In fact, it seems as though AI is the only solution we have. It is helping us not only track and our present data, but also analyze our past data so that we can make informed decisions about the future. One such example is the use of AI to collect large amounts of data on land, animals, weather, ecosystems, etc… and organize it, so that scientists and governments can then determine what needs to be done, and the most cost effective ways to engage conservation methods.

We are quite surely seeing more and more AI initiatives being undertaken to help create a more eco-friendly world.

In order to reduce human influence on nature, increasing levels of human interference with natural processes are required”  (Harvard University)

Whatever the downfalls of AI may be, its ability to help us against destroying our planet is perhaps its most important trait – because as hard as it may be to accept, our planet is dying and AI can help us prevent that. 

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