Save 37% off PRO during our Black Friday Sale! »

Cracking the Chat bot Code

9c25a2bf5a099e419fe0a79ce116807c?s=47 Elvis D'Souza
September 15, 2016

Cracking the Chat bot Code

The rise of messaging apps has led to strong interest in how brands and businesses can leverage them to engage with their customers. Bots using text as a medium has piqued the interest of developers and consumers alike. Breakthroughs in AI have only fuelled great expectations on user experience of such bots.

We will explore the rationale for chatbots, what a chatbot can and cannot do, how chatbots interface with users, technology challenges in building chatbots, understanding user context, handling and nurturing user trust.


Elvis D'Souza

September 15, 2016


  1. Cracking  the
 Chat  bot  Code Elvis  D’Souza Product  Engineer  

    Sensy  Remote
  2. Cracking  the
 Chat  bot  Code Elvis  D’Souza Product  Engineer  

    Sensy  Remote
  3. Cracking  the
 Chat  bot  Code Elvis  D’Souza Product  Engineer  

    Sensy  Remote
  4. None

  6. The  world  of  Apps • App  download  is  expensive  

    • Poor  discovery  on  app  stores   • Apps  compete  with  photos  for   space  on  the  phone   • Apps  make  you  sign-­‐up,  use  a  lot   of  data,  send  irrelevant   notifications,  hog  memory  
  7. CHAT  BOTS  -­‐  WHAT,  WHY,  HOW

  8. Chat  Bots • To-­‐and-­‐fro  interaction  between   the  user  and

     a  system   • The  host  is  usually  a  messaging   app.  Familiar  UI   • Primary  input  is  using  text,  like   in  messaging  apps   • Are  not  a  direct  replacement  for   apps,  like  apps  vs  websites
  9. Arrange  Meetings   Authenticate  Identity   Check-­‐in  to  a  flight

      Pay  for  lunches HISTORY  -­‐  WeChat "
  10. Why  platforms? • Easy  to  install  from  a  “bot  store”,

      lesser  friction  during  first-­‐use   • One  (messaging?)  app  to  rule   them  all,  less  clutter  on  the   phone’s  home  screen   • Share  auth,  social  graph  &   payments  with  bots  easily
  11. Conversational  UI? • Natural  language  is  good,  but   typing

     on  mobile  remains  hard!   • Required  AI  systems  are  not   production  ready  yet   • Instant  gratification  demands   intents  be  satisfied  with  fewer   taps   • UI  should  reduce  cognitive  load   and  offer  functionality/choices   at  the  same  time

  13. Poncho  -­‐  The  Weather  Bot

  14. Space  Adventure  -­‐  Text  Game

  15. TARS

  16. Riffsy  -­‐  The  GIF  bot  on  Kik


  18. The  bot  introduces
 its  offerings Convenient  
 one-­‐tap  interaction Surfaces

     content  via
 “cards”  interface
  19. Handy  options  on   what  to  do  next Rich  Card

     UI,  bots  can   do  more  than  text Allows  for  casual   conversation
  20. Feedback  and   compliments Deeper  engagement   with  content Engages


  22. Sensy  Mobile  App • “Whats  running  on  TV   right

     now?”   • Highly  visual  interface   • Grids  of  programs   • Tap  to  switch  channel  or  learn   more  about  a  show   • Handy  channel  number   reference  for  faster  switching
  23. Sensy  Mobile  App • Powerful  Search   • “English  Comedy”

      • “Kannada  Drama”   • “Akshay  Kumar  movie”   • “Animated  movies”   • “Star  Suvarna”   • “This  Weekend”  —  Filters
  24. Sensy  Bot  -­‐  Why? • Expose  a  conversational   interface

     to  Search   • Elicit  Intent  via  Natural   Language   • An  experiment   • Fun  to  build  one!
  25. Sensy  Bot  v1 • Define  the  domain   • Introduce

     yourselves   • Convey  what  your  bot  does   • Offer  hints  on  how  to  proceed   • Give  examples Thanks!  I'd  like  to   watch  an  english   comedy  movie.  Do   you  have  something   for  me?   
 Hello!  My  name  is   Sensy.  Let  me  help   you  find  something  to   watch  on  TV  
  26. Sensy  Bot  v1 • Leverage  structured   information   •

    Identify  Entities  related  to   your  use  case   • “English”  —  Language   • “Comedy”  —  Genre   • “Movie”  —  Show  Type I'd  like  to  watch  an   english  comedy   movie.  Do  you  have   something  for  me?   Here  are  English   Comedy  Movies   running  right  now  
  27. Sensy  Bot  v1 • Offer  keywords  to  modify   context

      • Time  —  “this  weekend”   • History  —  “on  my  favourite   channel”   • Filters  —  “I  have  20  minutes   of  free  time” I'd  like  to  watch  an   english  comedy  movie   this  weekend.  Do  you   have  something  for   me?   Here  are  English   Comedy  Movies   running  this  weekend  
  28. Sensy  Bot  v1 • Deliver  content  using   Cards  UI

      • Use  images,  audio  and  video   to  deliver  content   • Enable  interaction  with   options  or  links english  comedy   movie.  Do  you  have   something  for  me?   Here  are  English   Comedy  Movies   running  right  now  
  29. Learnings • Closed  domain  sets  expectations   • Examples  provide

     comfort  to  the   user   • Treating  this  as  a  search  problem   helped  get  the  v1  within  hours   • Input  from  the  user  helped   prioritize  how  a  v2  should  be   • Pleasantries  not  to  be  ignored   • Account  for  playful  users I'd  like  to  watch  an   english  comedy  movie   this  weekend.  Do  you   have  something  for   me?   Here  are  English   Comedy  Movies   running  this  weekend  

  31. Form  Filling  Bots • Guided  form  flows   • Can

     branch  depending   on  user  input   • Alternative  to  Customer   support  forms
  32. WeChat/Kik  Style • Modified  keyboard  to   guide  conversation  

    • Entertainment,  lifestyle   and  gaming  use  cases   • A  new,  fun  way  for  brands   to  interact  with  their  users   • New  age  IRC-­‐style   commands/IVR  systems
  33. Bot  Frameworks • Write  once  for  many   platforms  

    • Bot  Builders   • Customer  care  bots   • Form  filling   • Plug-­‐and-­‐play  AI   • Microsoft  Bot  Framework   • Facebook  Bot  Engine  (   •
  34. The  first  message • Helps  set  the  domain  for  

    interaction.  Open   domain  bots  are  hard   • Users  are  often  unsure  of   the  “right”  way  to  talk  to   the  bot
  35. None
  36. None
  37. The  first  message 
 Hello!  I’m  a  mobile   recharge

     bot.  Are  you   looking  to  recharge   talk  time  or  data?   
 Welcome  to  Pizza   station.  Would  you   like  to  order  a  Pizza?   
 Let  me  help  you  fi something  to  eat. What  are  you  in  th mood  for?   
 Hi,  Are  you  looking  for   help  regarding  a   recent  order? 
 Are  you  up  for  a  game   of  Tic-­‐Tac-­‐Toe? 
 Good  Morning,  Elv Here  are  5  stories   trending  on  News Now,  today  
  38. Assisting  Input • Use  custom  keyboards  on   mobile  

    • Provide  hints  and   examples,  identify  when   the  user  is  stuck   • Minimize  taps  required  to   get  things  done   • Allow  for  starting  over  in   guided  flows
  39. Nurturing  Trust • Tell  the  user  how  you   interpret

     their  queries   • Confirm  before  taking   irreversible  actions   • Sprinkle  feedback  and   compliments   • Engage  in  chatter,  handle   insults  with  care,  know   when  to  escalate
  40. Follow  Up • “Push”  messages  to  the   user  —

     Start  a  new   conversation  or  continue   an  old  one   • Use  this  for  delivering   updates,  like  change  in   flight  status  or  new   product  being  available  in   store

  42. AI  Bots • They  may  be  open   domain,  or

     may  support  a   plethora  of  use-­‐cases   through  a  natural   language  interface   • They  have  excellent  intent   harvesting  abilities,  and   enhanced  ability  to  know   when  not  doing  well Hello  Genie,  Please   open  the  front  door   for  Jake,  will  you?   
 Sure  thing!  I  shall  have   the  front  door  open   for  Jake 
 Jake  is  in!  I  have   locked  the  front  door
  43. AI  Bots  -­‐  Language • They  can  understand   complex

     constructs  &   respond  in  natural   language   • Can  understand  nuances   in  language,  handle   disambiguation  and   changes  in  linguistic   context   Almost  every?   
 Good  Morning!  Netflix   is  suddenly  available   in  almost  every   country  in  the  world!   
 Yeah!  Its  still  not   available  in  China,   North  Korea  and  Syria.   CEO  Reed  hastings   said  it  could  take    
  44. AI  Bots  -­‐  Context • Free  form  input  may  have

      multiple  questions,  ambiguity,   intent-­‐switching,  references  to   temporal  events   • Bots  need  to  understand  and   remember  the  user,  their   preferences.     • They  should  not  ask  questions   they  should  know  the  answers  for   • They  need  to  be  on  top  of   temporal  and  physical  context Neat!  Whats  the   weather  like,  today? 
 Slight  drizzle  expected   in  the  evening  at   Bangalore. How  are  things  at   Jake’s  place 
 Its  foggy  &  26  degrees   in  Mumbai  
  45. AI  Bots  -­‐  Deep  Learning • Rule/template  based   systems

     don’t  scale.   Generative  models  will   fare  better   • Training  is  hard  due  to  lack   of  relevant  data   • Handling  context  &   maintaining  a  coherent   personality  is  a  challenge Neat!  Whats  the   status  of  my  order? 
 Order  51  will  reach   you  by  6PM  today   Should  I  be  expecting   a  delivery  today? 
 Order  51  is  being   prepared  at  the   Mumbai  Hub  
  46. References ❖ Build  Bots   • Microsoft  Bot  Framework  

    • Pandora  Bots   • Chatfuel   • Botkit   •   • ❖ Reading   • Checking  In  On  Chat  Bots   • Bots  won't  replace  apps   • Deep  Learning  for   Chatbots   • Botday
  47. Questions  TRY  THE  BOT      Elvis

     D’Souza  ·∙      We  are  Hiring!    
  48. None