We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is a Chat Bot?

By Gregory Hanson
Updated: Jan 21, 2024

A chat bot is a computer program that is designed to engage in conversation with a human partner. This type of software is intended to convince its interlocutors that it is an active participant in the conversation and that real meaning is being exchanged. Some types of chat bot are even designed to make users believe that they are engaged in a conversation with a living human being. This type of program, although often employed purely for novelty value, is useful in psychological research, the development of artificial intelligence, and in handling some types of business interaction with customers.

The first program to function as a chat bot was ELIZA, a research tool developed in the 1960s. ELIZA was designed to simply parse comments from a human user and then respond with questions based on some of the words in the user input. Users found this fascinating and engaged in surprisingly protracted conversations with ELIZA, which they often interpreted as having been meaningful, thanks to the human predilection to find meaning in conversation.

A modern chat bot has access to many times more computing power than such early programs. Consequently, modern chat bots can often fool users for some period of time and many have good results in passing the Turing test. This test features a conversation between a human and a computer program. A program whose output cannot be distinguished from human conversation can be considered to have passed the test.

Many chat bots are designed for frivolous or nefarious purposes. Some users simply create bots and place them in chat or messaging sites on a lark. Others use these bots to distribute unwanted advertising or to harass users, although such advertising bots are relatively easy to screen out, as their constant dissemination of advertising information breaks their cover.

In 2011, recent years have seen this type of program come to serve more practical purposes, however. When contacting many large corporate or government entities, a human is now often greeted by an automated chat bot. These bots are now capable of performing many tasks once handled by human operators and are routinely used to collect user information, to direct calls to the appropriate department, or to handle simple tasks without any human intervention.

Chat bots are also used in the development of artificial intelligence. Any successful AI must be able to parse natural language and formulate appropriate responses. These are tasks for which a chat bot is already designed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.