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  • Writer's pictureNisha Sashidharan, Head of Marketing

The Evolution of Chatbots: From the First to the Future

What started as a simple, automated system to answer basic questions has evolved into an advanced model that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to engage in more complex, multi-turn conversations with humans. While the origin of chatbots can be traced back to the 1960s, it was in the 21st century that technology began to take off.

This blog will examine how AI chatbots work and their evolution, specifically the ChatGPT platform, an open-source conversational chatbot, revolutionizing how we interact with machines.


Rewind to the Mid-1960s – The History of Chatbots

The history of chatbots is an interesting one that spans over six decades. It all began in the mid-1960s when Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer scientist at MIT, developed the first chatbot, ELIZA. ELIZA was a simple program that used a script-based approach to mimic human-like interaction using predefined responses to simulate a conversation. Although ELIZA was limited in features, it paved the way for advanced chatbots following in the 1990s. The rise of instant messaging, such as AOL and ICQ, provided a new platform for chatbots to interact with humans.

In the 2000s, chatbots continued to evolve as Google introduced Google Talk. Microsoft rolled out Windows Live Messenger, including a chatbot named "Ms. Dewey" that could engage in conversations. However, chatbots remained limited until the introduction of natural language processing in the 2010s. 2011 witnessed the introduction of Siri, a virtual assistant by Apple, marking a milestone in chatbot development.

Over Six Decades Innovation – GPT Chatbot Explained

Fast forward to 2023; we have come a long way since ELIZA. And chances are, you might have heard the buzz around ChatGPT. Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is an open-source conversational AI chatbot using GPT—Generative Pre-trained Transformer – the model fueling ChatGPT to generate interactive responses to user input. The GPT architecture is a deep learning algorithm pre-trained on a large corpus of data, allowing it to learn the patterns and structure of language. As a result, ChatGPT can generate new text-based responses based on any given prompt.

But how do AI chatbots work? Glad you asked. What sets ChatGPT apart from other AI chatbots is its ability to adapt over time. Enter a fine-tuning process, where the model is trained on comprehensive information to improve its responses. But "Is the ChatGPT AI chatbot open source?" And the answer is Yes! Although acquired by Microsoft to enhance its Bing search engine, ChatGPT is intended to be open-source, making it easy for developers to modify and distribute ChatGPT's features and integrate it with other services.


ChatGPT Is Not Your Run-off-the-Mill Conversational AI

According to MarketsandMarkets, the chatbot market is projected to hit $10.5 billion by 2026, and ChatGPT will be a disruptive force. But some key features set ChatGPT apart, and they are:

Customizable Domain-Specific Training: The frustration of generic and irrelevant responses is nothing new. That's why ChatGPT's customizable domain-specific training can fine-tune the conversational chatbot to a specific database, making it a perfect fit for industries like healthcare, finance, and e-commerce.

Open-Source Operability: Although its acquisition by Microsoft has raised concerns, ChatGPT is still open-source. A report by GitHub reveals that open-source projects received over 413 million contributions in 2023, highlighting the vast potential for collaboration and improvement in open-source tools like ChatGPT.

Bias Mitigation: OpenAI's release of the "Bias-Robustness Evaluation Toolkit" is vital for developers creating ethical chatbots. With metrics to evaluate the bias of a chatbot and mitigation techniques, ChatGPT is at the forefront of ensuring fair and ethical interactions with natural language processing tools.


Chatbots Have Come a Long Way – But What's Next?

From the clunky and basic ELIZA to the advanced and versatile ChatGPT, the evolution of chatbots has been nothing short of impressive. As we conclude our discussion on the evolution of chatbots, it's clear that ChatGPT is a game-changer for businesses looking to enhance their customer service and improve efficiency.

But what are some of the specific benefits of ChatGPT? Stay tuned for our next blog, where we'll unlock the potential of ChatGPT by exploring its use cases, benefits, and applications.


Read other Extentia Blog posts here!

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