Technology has always been geared toward convenience and improving the quality of life for mankind. One of the ways of achieving this is through a better understanding of the human mind–their actions, behaviors, and tendencies. One of the results of this pursuit is conversational AI.
Nowadays, there are chatbots and programs that can basically understand human language as humans themselves use it. Through it, there are now services that are more natural-sounding and are a lot easiest for the intended market to use. Whether you’re an aspiring developer or just curious, here are the things you should know about conversational AI.
1. It is built upon natural language processing (NLP)
Conversational AI systems are built upon a technology called natural language processing (NLP), which generally refers to the study of interactions between human language and computers. In artificial intelligence systems, NLP specifically refers to automated computational capabilities that allow for the processing and analysis of relevant data from natural language.
NLP is an overlapping field of study between linguistics, computing, and artificial intelligence and is also used to advance human understanding in these areas of expertise. Some experts suggest that since language contains inherently abstract cognitive processes, conversational AI is looking forward to more specialized behavior. These tasks require intelligent behavior and comprehension of human language–things that AI tools are becoming good at.
This allows various applications of conversational AI to be possible. Some conversational AI systems are used to read and “understand” written and published documents, taking into consideration grammar and linguistic contexts. Other applications include speech recognition, natural language generation, and conversational understanding.
2. Some are made to let us “talk” to machines
One of the benefits of conversational AI technology is to make it easier for end-users to interact with computers and machines. By creating programs that can naturally accept and process human language, consumers no longer have to follow specific syntax or choose between a limited and predetermined set of options.
This creates a market in a variety of industries. Customer support chatbots are now lifelike which makes it feel like there’s an actual person on the other end. However, this chatbot can be left alone and respond automatically anytime, anywhere. Similarly, smartphones and smart assistants allow you to convey a variety of commands as if you were talking to another member of the household. This way, you no longer have to remember specific commands or instructions, making this technology accessible to people even without the same technical knowledge.
3. Like any other AI, they also need to be trained
Conversational AI is a subset of artificial intelligence systems, one that focuses on a particular application that basically works with human language one way or the other. As such, they are developed in ways similar to other AI tools. Usually, a tool is designed and developed with a particular application in mind. Whether it’s for understanding written texts, receiving and responding to human speech, or any conversational bots in general, they will then need to be trained before being deployed.
Training an AI means subjecting it to a large volume of data relevant to its application. Through the impressive computing now available, developers of conversational AI tools can feed their projects with a lot of datasets–a lot of which are becoming free and accessible nowadays–to give it the skills it needs. From millions of samples, printed text, or speech clippings, bots learn how to identify strings of words and make sense of it. Additionally, they also learn how to “read between the lines” by understanding how certain words or phrases mean differently depending on the rest of the material.
Some AI tools are fitted with the capability to continue learning as they are used in their intended application. Experience from interacting with real people allows them to store additional data and use it for future reference, or use the collected data and present it in a useful format for its administrators and developers.
4. They are widely used in research and education
With the progress achieved with conversational AI, it’s no wonder that they are also being used for a variety of academic and educational purposes on top of their more commercial uses. The main benefit of conversational AI across all levels of study is that it allows for smoother communication between users and computers. The use of automated tools that receive and respond with human-like responses allows for more accurate responses from the user, yielding better results.
In terms of research, conversational AI automates a variety of processes that would otherwise take an ordinary human an immensely long period of time, not to mention the costs involved. From scanning documents and identifying keywords to automatically generating a body of text, AI tools allow us to arrive at more breakthroughs and discoveries.
Although it is still difficult to pinpoint how conversational AI will grow in the future, its benefits in the market are enough to justify increasing interest and support toward the field. By understanding how humans talk, respond, behave, and react through the written and oral languages, and applying them to computing technologies, it is possible to create services and capabilities that cater to their specific needs.
About the Author on Conversational AI:
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated in his works.