Some chatterbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems, but many simpler systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database.
The second task may involve different approaches depending on the type of the response that the chatbot will generate.
Most people prefer to engage with programs that are human-like, and this gives chatbot-style techniques a potentially useful role in interactive systems that need to elicit information from users, as long as that information is relatively straightforward and falls into predictable categories. In 1984, a book called The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed was published, allegedly written by the chatbot Racter (though the program as released would not have been capable of doing so). Two such annual contests are the Loebner Prize and The Chatterbox Challenge.
Thus, for example, online help systems can usefully employ chatbot techniques to identify the area of help that users require, potentially providing a "friendlier" interface than a more formal search or menu system. One pertinent field of AI research is natural language processing. Chatbots are often integrated into the dialog systems of, for example, virtual assistants, giving them the ability of, for example, small talking or engaging in casual conversations unrelated to the scopes of their primary expert systems.
The classic historic early chatbots are ELIZA (1966) and PARRY (1972). Companies like Nordea Bank, Domino's, Pizza Hut, Disney, and Whole Foods have launched their own chatbots to increase end customer engagement The newer generation of chatbots includes IBM Watson-powered "Rocky", introduced in February 2017 by the New York City-based startup and e-commerce platform Rare Carat to assist novice diamond buyers through the daunting process of purchasing a diamond.
Other companies explore ways how they can use chatbots internally, for example for Customer Support, Human Resources, or even in Internet-of-Things (Io T) projects.