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  • Frank Aol

Chatbots vs Conversational AI

Updated: 5 days ago

When talking about chatbots in general, there is frequently a confusion about terms like virtual assistants, chatbots or conversational AI (Artificial Intelligence). A simple chatbot is based on a predetermined sequence of conversations which means it can only give answers to specific questions. In the case that a user types in questions which do not relate to the pre-defined contents, the chatbot will react with an error message. Chatbots are therefore ideally used for user support in the context of retrieving exactly defined information or making fixed other fixed arrangements like booking appointments. This means, chatbots are act one-directional, keyword-based and cannot really engage in what could be described as a conversation.


On the other side a virtual assistant will only then deserve its name if it can enter into some kind of conversation with a user and resolve more complex task than only giving predefined answers. At this point conversational AI steps in. Contrary to a chatbot, AI has the capability to engage in a much more human-like way and therefore can assist a user with sorting out real-life problems. Conversational AI can learn from conversations which is described as Machine Learning (ML). With the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI can detect the grammatical structure of sentences which means the words can analysed and understood in context which makes results in a much better User Experience (UX). Apart from that, conversational AI has the capacity of Natural Language Understanding (NLU) which breaks down the elemental pieces of a human’s speech into pieces to interpret it and understand it. In this way AI can detect a user’s intentions. Finally conversational AI is compatible with popular voice assistants like Alexa, Siri or Hey Google which furthermore boosts the human-like experience of a conversation.


Given all these advanced features, conversational AI seems to be hands-down the option to go for. However, one-directional chatbots still stand out in terms of easiness and speed of creation as well as in terms of cost-efficiency. For many SMEs they are furthermore an ideal beginning and easily realizable start into the world of digital communication.



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