Chat programs
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1994 to describe these conversational programs. This criterion depends on the ability of a computer program to impersonate a human in a real-time written conversation with a human judge, sufficiently well that the judge is unable to distinguish reliably—on the basis of the conversational content alone—between the program and a real human. 1966, which seemed to be able to fool users into believing that they were conversing with a real human. Few programs ever needed it more. Thus an illusion of understanding is generated, even though the processing involved has been merely superficial. Interface designers have come to appreciate that humans’ readiness to interpret computer output as genuinely conversational—even when it is actually based on rather simple pattern-matching—can be exploited for useful purposes. Most people prefer to engage with programs that are human-like, and this gives chatbot-style techniques a potentially useful role in interactive systems that need to elicit information from users, as long as that information is relatively straightforward and falls into predictable categories.

Thus, for example, online help systems can usefully employ chatbot techniques to identify the area of help that users require, potentially providing a “friendlier” interface than a more formal search or menu system. While ELIZA and PARRY were used exclusively to simulate typed conversation, many chatbots now include functional features such as games and web searching abilities. ELIZA was using back in 1966. Jabberwacky learns new responses and context based on real-time user interactions, rather than being driven from a static database. Chatbot competitions focus on the Turing test or more specific goals. In 2016, Facebook Messenger allowed developers to place chatbots on their platform. There were 30,000 bots created for Messenger in the first six months, rising to 100,000 by September 2017.