To better understand the difference between Microsoft Teams Helper Bots and Artificial Intelligence, let us take a coffee break. Seriously.
Some of your favourite coffee is named based on the amount of foam laid in the espresso and depends on whether it is hot or cold.
So better get your cup of favourite joe because this will be quite an explainer.
If you are a fan of macchiato, with its little or just a dash of foam, we can consider this as bots software. This applies to Microsoft Teams Helper Bots, too.
Meanwhile, if you prefer a latte with a much more amount of foam, we can classify this as a Chatbot (more on this later). It has more foam; hence, you can make latte art because of the amount of froth.
Then we come to the cappuccino, which is overflowing with foam and even has a sprinkle of cinnamon. With the oozing amount of froth, we can consider artificial intelligence or AI.
The analogy here is: the more foam that is set on a coffee espresso accounts for the amount of intelligence the software got.
Do you catch the drift?
Better consume that drink that coffee before it gets cold. Otherwise, it will be another variety of coffee like the frappe, which we can compare to an RPA under the coffee context (more on this later).
Going back to our analogy. The intelligence we are referring to here is natural language understanding (NLU). The more it has on either of the computer program mentioned above dictates what kind of software it is.
With NLU, a smartphone, tablet or computer can digest a text, have translated it into a computer language and then produce an output in a language that humans can understand.
What are Chatbots and RPA?
You cannot talk about bots and not mention chatbots.
For now, there are some websites that utilise this feature. It usually appears on the right-hand side of the screen. They are begging to engage anyone who enters a particular website.
As mentioned earlier, they have a natural language understanding (NLU) engine, which is advanced automation. However, they still need the input of programmers to function. They can interact to some extent and understand some degree of language than a bot. They can interpret responses, ask questions, and execute actions.
With Microsoft Teams online, anyone can create their own chatbot with the use of Power Virtual Agent (PVA). In addition, PVA can make it more engaging to anyone that will interconnect with it. What’s more impressive is that anyone can interact with as lively as possible.
On the other hand, there is this Robot Process Automation (RPA) that you still need to contend with.
Going back to the coffee shop analogy, chatbots are customer-facing because they are the front-of-the-house. Meanwhile, the RPA is your behind the scene workers. They do the “repetitive mundane tasks.”
With Microsoft Teams online, anyone can create their own chatbot with the use of Power Virtual Agent (PVA). In addition, PVA can make it more engaging to anyone that will interconnect with it. #Teams #Microsoft #MicrosoftTeams Click To Tweet
If there is a needs to enter then re-enter the same data, RPA is purposely built for this kind of task. RPA can be used to enable anyone to enter all the data in just one single entry. This is even if it has multiple fields and with different associated systems.
Differentiating MS Helper Bots and AI
The difference between MS Helper Bots and AI is not exactly a night and day situation. Instead, they are both at the end of the same spectrum. The difference is distinguishable under the following criterion:
In terms of accessibility, Microsoft Teams Bots is easier to get to than artificial intelligence. As mentioned earlier, anyone can create a bot of their own using Microsoft PVA.
Whereas AI, for now, is only giant corporations and massive learning institutions have access to it.
- Price Tag
Another reason why AI is not accessible is its price tag. It can cost as much as (AP styleUSD300,000) for a Custom AI Solution. Meanwhile, Third-Party AI Software can cost up to USD40,000 per year.
In contrast, a bot can be free or part of some software package.
- Human-Machine Interaction
Remember the NLU earlier? This is where they are worlds apart. Bots may be considered blunt and not sharp compared to its counterpart. This is because bots, mayor in some case, do not have any NLU at all.
As the Microsoft website would put it.
All you need to do is to “(Find) the right mix of cards, text, and task modules (and you have a) key (on creating) a useful bot.”
- Self-Learning Ability
Here is where the bot and AI are considered apples and oranges. If bots are limited to text and interactive cards, AI uses “deep learning.”
The truth is AI solution is beyond the grasp of most organisations at the moment. That is because the technology is far too expensive to develop. Moreover, it is not ready for practical application.
What is the future in store for a bot, chatbots and AI?
Since it is, we will all live in a not so distant future where bots, chatbots and AI will thrive and will be ubiquitous; some experts have expressed their opinions.
Co-founder and CEO of smart messaging platform Gupshup Beerud Sheth believe the popularity of chatbots and voice technology will be harness by advertisers.
He even predicted that “[a]rtificial-intelligence-powered bots are bound to become the new marketer.”
Meanwhile, MIT researcher Luis Perez-Breva argued that they still need humans for AI applications to be successful.
“(It still) need to …work with humans and have a kind of symbiotic relationship where both the AI and human learn and develop. AI requires human interaction to improve, and both employees and customers need to feel comfortable interacting with AI.”
There is much confusion on what bots, chatbots, and AI is. Moreover, in some cases, they are almost all used interchangeably. Which only added to the head-scratching.
Switch Connect hopes to plant a seed of a better understanding of the difference among this software. And to show some awareness of the potential of this software to small and big businesses.
We believe having Microsoft Teams with its potential to create your own customized bots is a step in the right direction.
Ashley Halcomb is a researcher and a freelance content writer for CloudBanking and Switchconnect. She is an ongoing learner and always curious to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to merchants on the CloudBanking and Switchconnect blog.