What is Conversational AI?

Chatbots have been around since the early 1960s, getting slightly more sophisticated as the decades rolled on, but only as proof points of what was to come downstream. By the mid-2000s, chatbots began to be commercially deployed, automating basic customer requests, but largely proving to be disappointing and frustrating as their binary nature was limiting, often resulting in hilarious ‘rabbit holes’ of confusion with customers ultimately desperate for a real person to contact.

The evolution of Conversational AI

Over the last five years, rapid advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) combined with access to affordable computer processing has seen Conversational AI solutions emerge as the successor to the unsuccessful early attempts at automating repetitive tasks. User experiences delivered today are unrecognisable from the early chatbots with many interactions now indistinguishable from that of a human. 

Crucially, these solutions can handle an ever-growing number of more complex tasks and requests. Furthermore, some Conversational AI Assistants solutions are now able to seamlessly integrate with enterprise applications, gathering data and information and presenting personalised responses back to the individual requestee. All the while respecting security parameters and data sensitivity.

Key differences between chatbots and Conversational AI


Chatbots are typically keyword and rule driven, based on pre-defined scripts and outcomes.

Navigation based rather than intent discovery and adaptive responses.

Improvements are driven by explicitly changing rules and outcomes to satisfy user requirements.

Typically fail when user input varies from narrow pre-trained entries.

Single channel

Conversational AI Assistant

Replicates human interactions, to help users find complex and diverse knowledge and data.

Understands context and learns continuously from every user interaction.

A constantly learning AI driven experience that suggests new content based on customer and employee inputs

Can switch or break out to new queries, without losing its original context.


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