Chatting With the Bots: an Introduction to Chatbots

You have probably talked with a robot, more often than you might realize. Your phone is likely filled with chatbots such as Siri or Google Assistant, as well as with apps, sites and services which use chatbots to support, educate or entertain users.

A chatbot (also known as a chatterbot, Artifical Conversational Entity, interactive agent, etc.) is a computer program or AI that is able to converse and interact with a human, whether auditory, graphically or textually. From various perspectives, it is rather fascinating to observe humans and bots communicating. It can seem as if the bot is really listening and understanding. As long as it talks back and serves our needs we gladly speak to our technology. What does that say about us, and what might this mean for future communication?

In this series of blogs, I will explore these kinds of thoughts and questions. First, I will revisit the history of chatbots, give background on Robot Love’s very own chatbot, PIP (created by Ine Poppe), take a more philosophical perspective and try to dive deeper in how the human mind works, to then take a glance into the future, and talk about how to create your own chatbot! Every Wednesday from now, a new blog will be published.

But before I start, I will shortly introduce myself. My name is Victoria Bosch, and I study Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Utrecht, with a focus on philosophy, cognitive neurosciences and artificial intelligence. Last year I started my internship at Robot Love, which I am very thankful for. I have since then learnt a lot, and am glad to help out. In this blog, I try to put all I’ve learnt about (chat)bots together, and where in some parts I do pose facts about past or current technologies, in others I might take a more subjective stance and talk about my own thoughts and experiences. Also, I (sadly) cannot predict the future, and still have so much to learn 🙂 But this is what motivates me, figuring out what might come. I want to pose questions to challenge your views, and trigger some deeper thought on our relationship with technology.

Click here to talk to PIP the chatbot, and discover whether you can love a robot…


II – The History of Chatbots

III – PIP, the Lovebot

IV – Understanding Ourselves

V – Welcome to the Future

Talk to PIP!