Conversational AI vs Chatbots: What’s the Difference?

Conversational AI vs Chatbots: What’s the Difference?

We often see Conversational AI and Chatbots talked about in the same breath, as if they mean the same thing. However, subtle differences exist that make each of these technologies unique.

Conversational AI

Conversational AI is best described as a cluster of technologies that work together to receive spoken or written requests and provide appropriate natural language responses. It is smart enough to identify user’s context, dialogue, and intent in order to provide an appropriate response.

Some of the technologies used by Conversational AI solutions include:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)
  • Contextual Understanding
  • Natural Language Generation (NLG)
  • Natural Language Understanding (NLU)


Chatbots are artificial agents that communicate with humans in text-based or voice-based conversations. They use rules and algorithms to interpret human requests and respond with appropriate automated answers. Some chatbots also use Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to interpret user intent and respond intelligently.

Chatbots can be used to provide quick and efficient customer service, recommend products, process orders, and more. They can be deployed on websites, in email and messaging services.

The Difference

Although Conversational AI and Chatbots share similarities, they also have many distinctions.

Chatbots, while they can use Natural Language Processing, mainly rely on hardcoded rules and decision trees to provide a response. Conversational AI, on the other hand, is better equipped to handle complex requests, recognize context, store and access large amounts of data, collect data for analysis and more.

The applications of Conversational AI are more varied, which makes it suitable for a range of different tasks. Chatbots, on the other hand, are more focused on specific tasks and cannot as easily adapt to new domains.


Conversational AI and Chatbots have several similarities, but the latter is limited in its capabilities when compared to Conversational AI.

Conversational AI is more versatile, and has a range of uses beyond customer service and product recommendations, such as aiding human decision-making and gathering data for analysis.

For tasks that require more intelligent interactions, Conversational AI is likely to be the better choice.

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