Commonly used Terminology in Chatbot Technologies

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and act like humans.

Human fallback

A feature triggered by a chatbot that routes the user's inquiry to a human live agent when it cannot intelligently respond to a message it receives from that user.


Derives from the word intention and refers to what a user's input means, something a chatbot must be able to respond to.

Messenger Chatbots

Reside within the messaging applications of larger digital platforms (i.e., Facebook, WhatsApp) and allow businesses to interact with customers on the channels where they spend most of their time.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

A subfield of linguistics, computer science, information engineering, and AI, dealing with the interactions between computers and human languages.

Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

a component of NLP that uses computer software to understand input made in the form of sentences in text or speech format.

Neural network

A computer system modeled after the human brain and nervous system


Also known as user input, is anything a user using a chatbot says to it. (i.e., "what are your opening hours?").

Rule-based chatbot

A chatbot powered by a finite decision tree that does not use any AI, but simply drives users through the tree by inviting them to click on buttons or use very specific keywords.

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