What Is the Difference Between a Bot and a ChatBot?



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Angela Lepelley from Five9 and Stuart Dorman from Sabio explain the difference between a bot and a chatbot.

What Is the Difference Between a Bot and a ChatBot?

Angela Lepelley (Five9)

Angela Lepelley at Five9

Angela Lepelley

When I think of a bot, I think of a robot. Which is essentially any technology that’s replacing something that a human used to do.

So going back a decade or two, it’s physical machinery taking over manual labour. Today we use the term to cover software, and anything that can replicate and automate what would have been a manual human task.

The chat part, as the name implies, means it’s conversational, whether that’s through text or voice. This is the key distinction to me, as bots are inherently not human, but by adding the chat bit, what we’re doing is trying to mimic human interaction with technology.

We all know that’s complex and our brains have context, meaning, and we use long sentences, and detect emotion. I think this is where we’re going with kind of the humanizing of chatbots. 

Stuart Dorman (Sabio)

Stuart Dorman at Sabio

Stuart Dorman

So, the difference between a bot and a chatbot. All of these words originated from the word robot.

And if you actually look at where that word came from, it came from Czechoslovakia and it actually means forced labour. And I think that’s quite a good way of describing what a bot does.

Essentially what it does is carry out repetitive tasks on behalf of the user. So you give a program some agency, it can carry out a function, maybe booking tickets online, anything repetitive that a human could do, the bot can replicate.

Chatbots add the ability to interpret language to that conversation. So you can actually create a structure around a conversation or you can ask your questions and then you can get responses back.

But you’re still taking the customer on a predefined task to allow them to achieve an outcome through language. So that’s the difference between a bot and a chatbot.

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Published On: 2nd May 2022 - Last modified: 15th Aug 2022
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