What is a Chatbot? How does a Chatbot Work? How can I create my own Chatbot? with an example

Recently the time we spend on internet, interacting with people in our contact list or surfing is increasing.

Recently Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots became buzz words and people are experimenting with lots of different chatbots now a days. In this current scenario, its very important to know, what is a chatbot, internals and how does a chatbot work, and how can you create your own Chatbot.

In this article I am going to address the above three questions that each one of us should know. I will also give you some examples of Chatbots to make a beginner understand better.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is an interactive bot, whom you can ask to perform certain tasks like you chat with one of your friend in your contact list. I understands your intent, in case of ambiguity it will clarify by striking a conversation with you.

You can greet it like you chat with your friend. It understands your greetings and greet you back like any other normal person.
TechCrunch Chatbot: greetings 

You can ask it to perform certain simple tasks like "Get me top trending articles" / "hey show me top trending articles". The TechCrunch Chatbot understands that you are interested in trending articles and fetches you those. Isn't it like magic.
TechCrunch ChatBot: Top Trending Articles

You can also also more specific queries like "articles on Uber". The TechCrunch Chatbot understands that you want articles that contain the keyword "Uber", and fetches you the exact articles containing the keyword "Uber". Isn't it awesome.
TechCrunch ChatBot: Articles on Uber

These Chatbots are improving at an exponential speed, and completely change the way you interact with a website like TechCrunch. Thats great isn't it. Now next question comes how on earth they are able to do that.

How does a Chatbot work?

A Chatbot analyses the messages that a user has entered using Natural Language Processing Engine and identifies your intent, prepares a query based on its understanding and executes that query, gets related information form its datasource, formulates a message in human consumable format using predefined templates and a powerful Natural Language Processing Engine and updates the user. The Chatbot also maintains the context and in case of ambiguity, it will try to resolve by interacting with you in simple human consumable language.

At a high level this is how a Chatbot understands and chat with you like any other person.


Now we understand how a Chatbot works on a high level, now lets see how we can create a Chatbot without having to worry about heavy Machine Learning algorithms or Artificial Intelligence.

How can I create my own Chatbot?

There are lot of APIs available to build your own Chatbots, below is a tutorial on how to use amazon's lex to create a Chatbot of your own

Home Composting Bins for Urban India

Have you ever thought about how much household waste we generate in a day? According to report by Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, individual middle-class residents in big cities generate nearly 0.8 kg of waste per day. And nearly 60% or more of the daily waste generated in households is made up of organic matter. A family of 4 produces 1.92 Kgs/day of organic matter.

It is the responsibility of every citizen of India to ensure that they are not adding to the land fill s when it can be easily converted to compost. In rural areas, they dig up the land and fill it with the dry leaves and let it compost, which is later used as a organic manure. But in urban areas where there is a space constraint these traditional methods do not work out.

Composting is the best way to handle your food waste; it needn't ever leave your apartment or head to the landfills. You can convert your daily dustbin contents into rich, organic manure and grow flowers, vegetables or plants with it.

Let's not Dump

Advantages of  Home Composting:

  • Soil conditioner: With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.
  • Recycles kitchen and yard waste: Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.
  • Introduces beneficial organisms to the soil: Microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant disease.
  • Good for the environment: Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.
  • Reduces landfill waste: Most landfills in India are quickly filling up; One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials.

Vatapi Bins from the Smart Pongo is pretty good way to create compost from the kitchen waste with ease in the kitchen. 

Advantages of  Vatapi Bins:

  • Bins fit very well in limited space available in kitchens
  • No problem of flies, cockroaches, rodents
  • No need of dry leaves and hand mixing.
  • Generated compost can be used to make plants healthy and increase the yield. 
  • Liquid generated from this bin can be used in gardens and also unclogging of the pipes

The compost generated can be used for growing healthy vegetables, flowers and herbs. If you feel you are generating more compost than needed, the compost can be donated to nearby gardens or can be sold to the compost collectors

Custom gift Ideas in time of CC: Content Creation

Now is the time of "Content Creation" CC:

With the advent of micro blogging, people started creating and sharing Content easily.

Slowly people started thinking anything more than 140 characters as spam( Like my  blog :D )

TBs of data is getting created & consumed daily, Facebook processes more than 500 TB of data daily.

In this CC Time I feel a customized T-shirt or mug with a personal touch will be an awesome gift idea.

Creating a custom Tshirt or mug is not that tough now a days, all you need to do is

1. Think of an idea
2. Google for quotations that expresses your idea
3. Select few images from your gallery
4. Upload these in a site like AllThingsCustomized.com
5. Tada your custom gift is ready for purchase
Order it and enjoy your personalized gift :).


Will Email Be a Thing of Past in Near Future?

Right from rise of social networking, there have been predictions that Email will soon be thing of past  Recently Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has declared that email is dead. Email has come long way from first message sent by programmer Ray in 1971. 40 years later we are talking aboult email being obsolete but its far from over.
Social networks definitely have made people feel that email is obsolete. Modern day communication tends to be informal, minimal and most of time immediate. Though Messengers/Communicators existed for long time they didn't kill the Email. Social network has definitely reduced the amount of personal emails exchanged but its far from over. In-fact Social Network themselves use Email to bring back the users to their sites.
Corporates still rely heavily on the emails, but recent decision by CEO of major European tech-firm ATOS to ban the emails in company raises some serious questions on future of the email. May be even corporates are now looking for alternative tools which can make collaboration more efficient.

What do you about future of email, Just mail your comments to Email_RIP@2020.com!! Just kidding, post your comments below.

Easy Steps For Amazon SES Integration into PHP Applications

Amazon Simple Email Service is highly scalable, cost effective bulk email sending service. In this article I will be explaining how to integrate Amazon SES into your existing applications built in PHP quickly. 

  1. Sign up for Amazon SES
  2. Add a verified sender email id -  Login to AWS Management Console, Add an emailid to the verified senders list. Email would be sent to the specified address and once verified the senders email id gets added.
  3.  Once user gets added to senders list, you can send test mails to any valid email id using the AWS Console
  4. Request production access from here. Initially you will get a max Limit of 1000 mails per day and maximum of 1 email/second.
  5. Get AWS access keys - Go to http://aws.amazon.com, click Account, and then click Security Credentials. Navigate to the Access Credentials section of the page, and click the Access Keys tab.
  6. Download Amazon SES PHP class from here
  7. Sample PHP script which will send the email using Amazon SES
$ses = new SimpleEmailService('Access Key Here', 'Secret Key Here');
$m = new SimpleEmailServiceMessage();
$m->setSubject('Hello, world!');
$m->setMessageFromString('This is the message body.');

Thats it all set to send messages using Amazon SES.
Pricing: Amazon charges $0.10 for 1000 messages and $0.12 per GB of attachments.
You can also request Amazon to increase the quota limits from here.

Hope that article was useful, See ya!!


Will Google Migrate Orkut Users to Google Plus?

Google launched its social network Google+ yesterday and its already hot topic among the tech blogs. Once again Google goes via invite route for the launch. I didn't get chance to play with Google+ yet but seems to be like one of the best UX/UI from Google.

What happens to Orkut (another social network from Google!) now? Most probably it would be shut down. Its known fact that Orkut is fast losing its user base, but as per Alexa, Orkut is still ranked 11th in Brazil and 17th in India, which means they still have users who are using it.

Possible reasons why people are still using Orkut:

  1. Inertia to move to new social network like Facebook
  2. Some users still using orkut (inspite of having facebook account), because many of their friends are still on orkut and they have not moved to Facebook.
  3. Love for Orkut or may be the apps on the Orkut (though, I seriously doubt if people use any apps on Orkut these days)
Possible options for the Google:

  1. Shutdown Orkut all together
  2. Continue running Orkut and wait for user base to reach to zero :)
  3. Migrate all the Orkut users to Google Plus

In case of option 1 and 2, users moving out of Orkut may either go to Facebook or Google plus. At this juncture its more probable that they move to Facebook.

If they opt for option 3 they can migrate all of their Orkut users to Google plus, also it makes sense as they are loyal users of Orkut and should be given privilege to be early users of Google plus :). There will be having their own set of challenges migrating Orkut to Google plus, as not features can be migrated, possibility of some data loss, applications will go away.

My option would be to go with step 3, Lets see whats Google take on that. What do you think is best option, please do comment!!