Chatbots have exploded in 2017. In previous years they were just an interesting idea to play around with to test how smart computers are getting.
Now, researchers and companies are finding cool real-world applications for chatbots.
They are helping us stay healthier, manage our meetings, keep up with the news, and even learn languages. It’s also possible to make your own chatbot if you know what you’re doing.
Here are seven chatbots that are finding their way onto many laptops and smartphones, and changing the way we think about artificial intelligence.
Mitsuku is first on the list because it is a classic general AI chatbot. Just go to the website and start up a conversation about anything. Music, what you’ve been up to, the meaning of life – it doesn’t matter, she’ll keep up a funny and witty chat.
Mitsuku is the most advanced chatbot on this list and one of the best in the world. She is the current champion of the Loebner prize, an annual competition ranking the most human-like chatbots in existence. You’ll be recognized if you’ve chatted on the same computer before, and Mitsuku can even pick up on your mood by the way you are speaking.
Melody by Baidu
Unlike Mitsuku, Melody is a chatbot designed for a specific task – looking after your health. Melody is Chinese search giant Baidu’s attempt to use AI to make doctor-patient communication smoother. Melody will ask you for necessary medical information, then integrate that info with the Baidu Doctor app. Doctors can then use that information for diagnostics or to recommend treatments.
This chatbot uses deep learning and natural language processing techniques developed by Baidu to get smarter with every interaction.
Are you someone who checks the weather every morning before you leave the house? If so, Poncho could be a helpful new friend to start texting. Poncho is an expert in one thing, the weather. You can ask questions like “do I need an umbrella today?” or “ is it a nice day for a picnic?” and receive a helpful reply. It will even use witty humor to make the interaction more fun.
Available on iOS, Android, Facebook Messenger, KIK, and Viber, you can easily receive daily message updates on weather, pollen traffic, and horoscopes with a funny twist.
Many of us now travel and fly regularly, and keeping track of everything can be difficult. Instalocate is designed to be your personal travel assistant, helping with things like:
– Remind you of travel times and when you need to leave
– Estimate wait times
– Track flights and connections in real-time
– Predict problems during your journey
– Summarizing your customer rights
It might even earn you some money by helping you get the right compensation if your flight is delayed. You can find start chatting to instalocate on Facebook Messenger.
Scrolling through hundreds of news articles every day is time-consuming. TechCrunch has an AI chatbot that helps you reduce this time by finding news articles that are relevant to you. Voted best news bot in the Chatbottle awards, it lets you subscribe to certain topics, sections, or authors that you like to stay up-to-date on things you care about. You can also ask specific questions like “What is…” to receive a direct answer or a recommended article to read.
Meekan for Slack
This chatbot acts as a calendar scheduling tool for Slack. It understands human readable requests, giving it an edge over other calendar scheduling platforms. For example, you can add it to your Slack channel and simply ask “Meekan, schedule a meeting for everyone tomorrow”. It will look at everyone’s calendars to find a suitable time that everyone is free. It works with Google, iCloud, and Office 365, and you can also ask it to do things like:
– Tell you how busy you are on a certain day
– Reschedule appointments
– Find a room that free
That’s pretty cool!
This is one of the coolest use cases for an AI chatbot I’ve seen so far. When learning a language, it can be difficult to practice real conversations. Either because you feel pressured, or you simply don’t have anyone to talk to. DuoLingo helps you out by creating AI chatbots that can have a responsive conversation in the language you are learning. Want to practice ordering at a restaurant in Spanish? Have a chat to “Chef Roberto” and try choosing a seat, ordering food, and paying your bill. He’ll even crack a joke or two to catch you off guard.
The DuoLingo bots aren’t as smart as some of the others on this list, but that’s ok. When you’re learning a language, you probably don’t need or want that anyway. The bots are also learning and getting better all the time. Try giving a slightly unexpected answer, you might be surprised by the response!
Build Your Own Chatbot
Researchers and companies are getting great at chatbot AI development, and thinking of some great use cases for them. But, have you ever considered the possibility of creating your own? Companies like devteam.space can even help you out with chatbot AI programming, helping you make your own chatbot. It can use the same deep learning technology that the chatbots we’ve discussed today, but specialize in your business or idea.
Whether you want to build a chatbot or just try some out, now is the time to get started. Many are being developed every day, and there is probably one to help you solve a problem you’re having.