Given how technologically advanced chatbots have become, many of us perceive them as a contemporary concept. However, these digital helpers have been around for more than half a century!
How did we get to where we are today? Let’s check out the top milestones in chatbot history:
Eliza || 1966
Eliza, the Rogerian therapy-bot, parsed user prompts and matched them to potential scripted responses. It was not only the first chatbot, but also one of the first machines to show a hint of humanity. Although Eliza couldn’t contextualize conversations, it created an illusion of a human-like interaction with a psychotherapist.
Parry || 1972
Parry was known as “Eliza with an attitude.” While Eliza mimicked an amiable and inquisitive therapist, Parry was created to simulate a paranoid schizophrenic. It contained richer language understanding capabilities and a mental model.
What Happens When Parry Meets Eliza?
Parry: People get on my nerves sometimes.
Eliza: I am not sure I understand you fully…
Parry: You should pay more attention!
Eliza: Suppose YOU should pay more attention!
Jabberwacky || 1988
Jabberwacky was the first artificially intelligent chatbot to simulate human voice in an engaging way. It was created to provide entertainment and companionship as would a talking pet parrot! Rather than adhering to finite rules, it relied on principles of feedback to retrieve responses. Jabberwacky aggregated inputted phrases into its database. Therefore, the more it chatted, the more it learned!
IBM’s Watson || 2006
Watson created a new generation of technology that could find answers in unstructured data from conversational input. It can simultaneously run hundreds of language analysis algorithms and is used in various industries ranging from healthcare to finance to retail. It also paved the way for natural language processing. Fun fact: Watson won Jeopardy in 2011!
Intelligent Assistants || 2010s
Intelligent personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Now and Cortana help automate tasks that previously required human touch. They can perform user requests and respond to natural language voice commands.
Banking Bots || Late 2010s
Chatbots including Capital One’s Eno and Bank of America’s Erica broke into the banking industry as AI virtual banking assistants who help customers manage their inquiries and finances on their mobile phones. Through voice or text interactions, users can ask questions, track account balances, make payments, transfer money, and receive fraudulent alerts among other use cases. These AI assistants make banking more flexible, easy, and efficient!
Posh || 2018
Posh is an AI Platform that spans messaging and voice channels through its Intelligent Chatbots and Conversational IVR (Interactive Voice Response), which is basically a bot for the phone! Posh’s patent-pending IP gives its bots contextual conversational memory like humans have. Posh’s bots are also trained in industry-specific data to optimize performance!