Chatbots are over 50 years old, but the technology is still evolving. Despite recent advancements, the history of chatbots hasn’t been all plain sailing.

The history of chatbot technology begins in 1966, when Joseph Weizenbaum created an early natural language processing computer program, Eliza. The program was designed to mimic human conversations by matching user prompts to pre-scripted responses. Since Eliza’s creation, technologists have experimented with the creation of several different chatbot programs and software applications.

Only in recent years are we beginning to see chatbot technology used in everyday applications — think Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. While some could argue that these intelligent, voice activated assistants are not truly chatbots, these applications are introducing the wider consumer market to the possibility of chatbot technology in our homes, workplaces and on the go.

Eliza may have been developed over 50 years ago, but chatbot technology is still in its infancy. It’s only been in recent years that we have started to understand the potential of chatbot technology from a business perspective, rather than as a novelty or as a technological experiment.

Without even realising, many customers will have interacted with chatbots on customer service calls or live chat applications. However, it’s important that customer service is not completely reliant on this technology to manage complaints. As chatbots continue to evolve, it is vital that organisations take steps to explore the technology before fully implementing it into their customer service efforts.