The Evolution of AI Chatbots

Over the past decade, chatbots have quietly entered our lives and become their integral part. Siri will help you find the answer to any question, Alice will chat with the children, and a smart  AI companion will play a roleplaying game with you. However, few people know that chatbots are not a modern invention. The first bot appeared back in 1950. In this article, we will tell you about the evolution of chatbots.

1966: Doctor Eliza

In 1966, ELIZA appeared, the first virtual text chatbot in history. The program attracted much attention because it was the first to “deceive” people. Joseph Weizenbaum, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, developed the bot.

Eliza’s work was based on a simple scheme to recognize keywords in the text to generate programmed universal responses later. For example, if someone wrote, “My five-year-old brother has a toy car,” Eliza asked to tell him more about his little brother. If the topic reached a dead end, Eliza answered, “I see,” and independently translated the topic.

Not an interlocutor, but just a darling. Partly because of this, people who interacted with Eliza felt as if they were talking to a psychoanalyst. Her ability to maintain a dialogue gave the impression that the chatbot understood human speech. But ELIZA was unreasonable – its developer stated this more than once.

1972: Schizophrenic Parry

If the psychotherapist Eliza was the first step in the evolution of bots, then the mentally ill chatbot Parry, developed by Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory psychiatrist Kenneth Colby, was the next step.

A psychiatrist wondered whether machines could understand the functions of the brain. That is how Perry was born — a text bot simulating a paranoid person with schizophrenia. The program became a training ground for medical students, after which they could move on to real patients.

By the way, Dr. Eliza even tried to cure Perry. One of the most famous conversations took place in 1972. The bots were connected and corresponded with each other, but Perry never got rid of his illness.

Perry also became the first virtual chatbot to pass the Turing test. The bot deceived 48% of professional psychiatrists, who did not understand they were communicating with a machine. All this caused a lot of discussion about the capabilities of AI and gave a strong impetus to the development of bots.

1988: Jabberwacky Joker

It took 16 years for the funny prankster bot with artificial intelligence to appear. The first voice bot, Jabberwacky, was created by Rollo Carpenter, a self-taught programmer.

The trick of this bot is not only that the program can imitate human conversation entertainingly. An absolute innovation was that instead of a static database built into the program (a set of answer options to prescribed questions), the AI chat received the ability to learn. The bot remembered absolutely everything that was said to it, mirrored the behavior of the person speaking to it, quickly learned slang, and eventually acquired its own character.

1995: Darling ALICE.

ALICE (from the “Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity”) is the first project to simulate voice chat with a woman. It was created in 1995 by programmer Richard Wallace.

Alice was a real breakthrough for the industry because it could process the user’s natural speech and later use a technique to match the user’s phrase with patterns in the knowledge base.

But Alice was repeatedly recognized as the most “human” bot among those already existing and inspired directors. For example, it was the image of ALICE that formed the basis of the sci-fi romantic drama “Her,” in which the main character falls in love with a chatbot.

2001: Erudite SmarterChild

SmarterChild is a bot created by ActiveBuddy, a company that builds conversational interfaces. SmarterChild was designed to communicate naturally with users and proved that people interact with machines simply out of interest or entertainment. It is believed to be the main predecessor of Apple’s Siri. Moreover, it’s an ancestor of modern bots for lifelike roleplay.

2010: Smart Siri

In 2010, there was a revolution in the world of virtual assistants – Apple launched Siri, which the whole world learned about. Siri became the first bot capable of finding answers to any questions and completing tasks online. Today, it can help you manage your phone: set an alarm, set a reminder, or call a specified number.

2012: Responsive Google Now

A bot from Google that appeared two years after Siri. The bot can answer questions, give practical advice, and process user requests.

2015: Assistants Alexa and Cortana

2015 pleased the industry with two famous bots: Alexa from Amazon and Cortana from Microsoft.

Cortana is a virtual voice assistant that has learned to anticipate the user’s needs. For example, a user can give her access to personal data (browser history, mail) so that she can later receive only those news and offers that will definitely be of interest to her.

Alexa is the second virtual assistant, first appearing on the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers. The bot supports voice communication, plays music, podcasts, and audiobooks, creates to-do lists, sets alarms, and provides up-to-date information about weather, traffic, sports, news, and so on.


Today, chatbots have an amazing ability to imitate human behavior. They very accurately implement the behavior of a given character. It makes them indispensable in AI roleplay when the bot plays the role of a specific character.

It creates a unique experience. Many players note that such a partner is even better than an ordinary person. Firstly, it is available at any time. Secondly, the bot plays flawlessly and doesn’t go out of character. Thus, the bot provides a perfect, fully immersive gaming experience.


It is how chatbots have changed in more than 70 years. How soon do you think people will be unable to distinguish whether they are communicating with another user or a machine? Today, chatbots’ capabilities are amazing. They have already become a part of our lives, so there is no need to be afraid. Take full advantage of this technology for work and play.