December 10, 2016 AI, Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, Tech

What are chatbots? Where did they come from?

2016 is all about chatbots and why shouldn’t it be? They are going to send all the app developers back to their whiteboards. There are so many chatbots in the market and with many in the making as well. There is a big part of the ground left and unique chatbots are going to fill it. Could be yours too! But before you start developing one, do you know the history of chatbots? Knowing the history is an essential part because it will help you developing a well-versed chatbot. You’ll know all the technical aspects, the failures and success stories as well. So, should we start telling you from where did these cute little things come from? Well…

The first ever chatbot was Eliza. Created in 1966, Eliza mimicked human conversation by linking user prompt to the scripted responses. It worked pretty well but for just a short period of time. It even passed the Turing test!

After Eliza, came Parry in 1972. Parry had a little attitude problem. Guess? Schizophrenia. It was more serious and advanced than Eliza. They used to call it “Eliza with attitude”.

Almost one and a half decade after Parry, the world encountered one of the earliest attempts of man towards AI. In 1988 Jabberwacky was all over the news because it’s text based system made a huge success and opened doors for other chatbots. It wasn’t a task based bot. It was a chatterbot for entertainment but it had a good script and it was able to learn from its human interactions as well.

Do you remember Dr Sbaitso in the early ‘90s? It was an AI speech synthesis program, initially developed for MS Dos. It was just designed to showcase a digitised voice. The character was a psychologist. Thought it wasn’t a successful experiment and neither a proper chatbot but it became the inspiration for Siri in 2011.

Smarterchild doesn’t need any introduction. SmarterChild came in 2001, we grew up trying to make him say bad words and having funny conversations. It was in the friend list of every teen at the time. It is considered to be the best chatbot example of that era. It had good features and the best one was the data access which is considered as a precursor to Siri.

What happened after 2001? Well, Jeopardy happened! And we got one of the most accurate examples of AI today, IBM’s Watson. It was specially designed in 2006 for Jeopardy and it won. Watson is based on Natural Language Processing algorithm and it uses NLP and Machine Learning get the insights from the huge volumes of data.


Four years after Watson, we met Siri for the very first time. Siri is leading the intelligent-assistant movement, it has a Natural Processing user interface which she uses to answer all your questions and perform web requests.


Soon after Siri, Google Now started to create vibes around the globe with its natural language UI and efficiency of performing web requests and other tasks. The voice-recognition system in Google Now is well-known for its accuracy.


2015 had two AI bots, Alexa and Cortana. Alexa incorporates the Amazon Echo device and it uses natural language process as well to recognise voices and answer them. Developed by Microsoft, Cortana is another AI-powered assistant that uses NLP to perform tasks like, setting reminders, alarms and answers questions using the Bing search engine.


This year, Facebook launched its messenger platform allowing the developer to code there and create chatbots so that they can interact with FB users. In June, reportedly 11,000 bots were available.
Chatbots are in full rage and they are probably going to replace apps soon. There are endless things you can incorporate them in, like… building websites? *wink*

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