Before we talk about the chatbot itself, its important to understand Natural Language Processing, commonly abbreviated as NLP, allows a software program to understand input in the form of “natural language,” or speech and text that is not expressed in a programming language. Artificial intelligence chatbots compose responses in a simulated conversation based on keywords and context in a query or comment by the user. To view this activity in real-time, you can download a free chatbot program online and experiment on your own computer.
Software programs typically only have to deal with a computer programming language. Programming languages are the method by which humans interpret commands so that a computer can understand them. Advanced programmers are able to translate what they want the program to do into the programming language easily. For most people, however, a bit of programming code, such as the following snippet in C++, might as well be in Greek.
int powerOfTwo(unsigned int x)
return !((x-1) & x);
For a computer program without NLP, the user query, “Is X a power of two?” is just incomprehensible. Natural language processing gives the software a database of information, allowing it to compare each letter, syllable, word, or phrase with the database to determine a meaning and appropriate response. In essence, NLP bridges the gap between a computer that only understands programming language and a human who only understands natural language.
Chatbot programs using artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly common. If you want to experiment with a chatbot, use an online chatbot like Jabberwacky, or download a bot program from the Internet.
Jabberwacky is an online chatbot that initiates a conversation with you. It can be redundant and a little silly, but conversations with Jabberwacky are amusing at the very least. Ask Jabberwacky questions, and you will always get an answer, even if the response isn’t what you expected. For example, when Jabberwacky told me that it was married, I asked for its spouse’s identity. Jabberwacky responded that it was married to me.
BotSpot’s All The Chatterbots page offers a list of online chatbots and free bot downloads. The list includes information about the source of each program and its capabilities.
Natural Language Processing and Chat-Bots
NLP is a vital part of chatbot programming. It helps the bot program translate conversational text into a format that it can both understand and respond to. The amount of translation required for a computer to understand human language is enormous, but with artificial intelligence, chatbots like Jabberwacky have achieved fantastic success.