Chatbots are Changing. Can They Change Behavior, Too?

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The first chatbot, named Eliza, was created in 1966. She was a “Therapy Bot,” designed to respond to typed input with corresponding output resembling natural language. Stories suggest that Eliza’s inventor, Joseph Weizenbaum, cancelled the project upon finding his assistant weeping while talking with the bot.


Chatbots are Evolving

Chatbots are a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that mimic human communication. Since Eliza, chatbots have taken a variety of forms and functions (including this cutting edge retail campaign our CMO helped develop). Some have been wildly successful, such as Amazon’s and Google’s virtual home assistants. Others, like Facebook’s Agent M, have seen more modest success. (Who could forget the hacking of Microsoft’s 2016 experiment?)

Chatbots are even used for health intervention. In 2017, the Quit Smoking Chatbot helped nearly 3,000 people give up nicotine, and a new text messaging tool is currently in the works to help fight opioid abuse.


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Chatbots are Innovating...

AI is changing education, too. Chatbots are moving into the classroom in a range of ways including automated essay scoring, course assessments, teacher assistants, and more.

Chatbots are an ideal tool for spaced interval learning (sending reminders at the exact moment information is likely to be forgotten), making them a valuable platform for adult learning programs, professional training, and cause marketing campaigns.


...and Changing Behavior

Behavior change is a multi-step process. It begins with raising awareness by inspiring the curiosity, engaging the interest, and identifying the motivations of a target audience.

The chatbot interface is uniquely attuned to knowledge- and skill-building instructional methodologies such as micro-learning (sharing information a bit at a time), chunking (breaking large lessons into small pieces), and subscription learning (streaming information to those who opt-in).

Through nudges like timed reminders, prompts, and challenges, chatbots can inspire learners to take action by applying new skills to choices, behaviors, and causes. The result?

Social impact through education.


To experience how CNY’s chatbots make an impact text TRY ME to 251-241-7000 now!




Adler, Simon. “More or Less Human.” Audio blog post. RadioLab. May 17, 2018.

Hald, Grasia. “Chatbots: The Very First & The Latest,” September 14, 2017.

Cristina Sandoval