TrendsEmotional Chatbots: We need a virtual friend

dotmug6 years ago4 min


The world of customer care has changed a lot in recent years. The most urgent need being that of responding to the requests of increasingly demanding customers in real time. Chatbots fulfill this need and are no longer limited to assisting by providing useful information, but the goal is now for them to become our best friends.

Last year several million euro were invested to introduce chatbots in all sectors: catering, beauty, fashion, food delivery, etc. Is this heralding change or is it just a new engagement strategy? Whatever the goal, the advantages of chatbots are remarkable: they reduce response times, increase engagement and provide personalized offers daily. But that’s not all: chatbots can also hold friendly, empathetic, emotional conversations.

Replika: your new best friend

If you believe it’s impossible for a chatbot to understand your moods and experience empathy, you’ve got another thing coming.

Replika is an example. It all started in 2015 after its creator lost her best friend in an accident while she was working on a chatbot for restaurant bookings. Kuyda developed a sort of “digital replicant” of her friend so she could still chat with him. How did she do it? She basically had her chatbot analyze all the messages she had exchanged with him so that it could replicate his responses and writing style. Today Replika has evolved, but its strength lies in the creation of an emotional involvement, a sort of virtual friend that accompanies you and supports you, without necessarily providing you with important information, just to talk.

Ada your healthbot

All this is possible thanks to the deep-learning sequence-to-sequence model, which exploits neural networks and transcripts of conversations between people to learn to think like a human being

In addition to emotional areas, there are also experiments in the medical field. Ada, available only in the United Kingdom, is a non-diagnosing chatbot – so it does not replace a doctor – that helps asses your physical ailments by evaluating your symptoms. In fact, Ada limits its artificial intelligence to improving its performance and to help you understand what your symptoms could lead to. As the company explains: “Ada has been trained by a sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) engine combined with an extensive medical knowledge base covering many thousands of conditions, symptoms and findings.”


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