Intro to Chatbots

Emily Chao(elchao2), Berwin Xie(bxie6)

What are Chatbots?

  • Used to emulate humans
  • People interact with them to accomplish different tasks
  • A lot more natural than menu systems

Example uses

  • Personal Assistant (i.e. Siri, Google Assistant, etc)
  • Customer Service (Helping people troubleshoot)
  • Conversation Bots

How they work

How they work

  • Ability to detect user input (text or voice)
  • Process the input into 'tokens' to extract topics
  • Construct a response based on information


  • Let's take a look at a seminal bot: ELIZA
  • ELIZA was one of the first bots to be used as a psychotherapist
  • Although it is very limiting, it provides a good overview of how early bots worked


  • ELIZA is an early natural language processing computer program created from 1964 to 1966 at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum.
  • ELIZA simulated conversation by using a 'pattern matching' and substitution methodology that gave users an illusion of understanding on the part of the program
  • The most famous script, DOCTOR, simulated a Rogerian psychotherapist and used rules, dictated in the script, to respond with non-directional questions to user inputs.
  • ELIZA was one of the first chatterbots, but was also regarded as one of the first programs capable of passing the Turing Test.