This is a follow up post to the reader question in the previous post. Here we will consider the capabilities of Dialogflow when it comes to creating advanced chatbots.
This is an interesting question, because the notion of “advanced” is different for different folks.
Interestingly, there seems to be huge variation in what people think is advanced.
Bot builder expectations
On the one hand, there are many chatbot platforms which do nothing more than letting the user select from a set of choices by clicking a button. There is no intelligence at all in these chatbots in terms of “understanding” what the user said. People who come from this background are astonished by the capabilities of Dialogflow!
On the other extreme, some people ask why chatbots don’t really “get” what people say. In fact, there are some who actually expect the chatbot to make inferences. For example, based on two sentences like “I want to fly to Paris” and “I don’t want to fly first class” it should then understand that the user is not going to be interested in the expensive options when they choose the car in their package deal! Not that this isn’t doable with extra work, but it isn’t something you expect the chatbot to automatically infer.
Dialogflow vs other bot frameworks
Can we make better chatbots using Dialogflow than other bot frameworks such as Lex, Wit.ai and LUIS?
I think they will all be mostly about par, because their capabilities are quite similar. Perhaps one of them might have that one extra feature that you really like. So you might opt for one of the frameworks for that reason.
I believe this is where Dialogflow really shines. Its ability to map the user’s message to the appropriate intent is very powerful. I haven’t explicitly tested the other frameworks on this front, but you can come across a few answers on the internet from people who have played around with the other frameworks pointing this out.
At the end of the day, I believe it is possible to build fairly advanced chatbots in Dialogflow as long as you are clear that the important benefit of a chatbot is not that it can “chat” like a human, but rather it is a “bot” that can automate tedious, repetitive tasks using a conversational interface.
But then again, I am a Dialogflow consultant. What do you really expect me to say? 🙂