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What is a bot ?

  • Last Updated : 18 Jan, 2021

A Bot or internet bot or web robot in technology is a software application that does certain automated tasks. They run on their scripts and don’t require a human user to start them. Generally, bots perform that tasks are simple and repetitive but can be also used for complex tasks. The bot is automated that’s why they have much faster execution than that of a person.

Type of Bots :

Bots can be chatbots, web crawlers, social bots, malicious bots, etc.

  • Chatbots – 
    A chatbot is a bot used in the chat conversation. These bots replace humans and show human behavior. The earliest chatbot Eliza was programmed in 1964 and answered some very simple decision tree questions. Today there are a number of Chatbots present. For e.g. – Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, etc. These chatbots are highly AI (Artificial Intelligence) programmed chatbots that can do much more complex tasks than simple ones. They are there for making our life a little easier. They take care of you by reminding you to take an umbrella if it’s going to rain or to remind someone’s birthday. From showing booked tickets to pending bills or maybe chatting with customer care also.  
  • Web crawlers – 
    Web crawlers or also called web spiders. These are the bots that scan the webpages all over the internet and browse the web for indexing webpages and the content in that webpages. They are also used in data mining. Google is most known for its web crawler Googlebot. There are many web crawlers present such as- Baidu Spider, GoogleBot, Scraper, WebHarvy, Alexa Crawler, Yandex Bot, etc. Bots are mostly used in web crawling. Roughly more than half of web traffic is due to bots. All bots work on some input from the user and respond accordingly. They typically search for keywords or any data for responding with an accurate and precise output.
  • Social bots – 
    These are the bots that are present in social media sites but unlike chatbots, their tasks are simple, following someone or some page on social media or taking polls or influencing, etc. They can be used to work on a large scale without requiring much effort. 
  • Malicious bots – 
    There are a number of bots present which are present in many forms and can steal user data or hack social media accounts, spread fake news, can make someone popular or damage someone’s reputation, or can infect the user system by unknowingly downloading files in the user system or by any means.

Applications of Bots :

Here are some real-life examples where bots are used 

  • Customer care service
  • Run surveys to collect data
  • Taking polls
  • Personal assistant
  • Sending messages or e-mail in bulk and many more.

Advantages of Bots :

  • Less Expensive – They definitely cost less than as it cuts the labor cost.
  • Available 24/7 – Unlike humans, they can be present 24/7.
  • Less Error – As not many humans’ involvement is their so less probability of error.
  • Less Time-Consuming – They are much faster than humans, so they can do their task at a much faster rate

Disadvantages of Bots :

  • Lack of Communication – They can’t communicate beyond a specific limit.
  • Stores Data – Bots can store the user’s sensitive data or other relevant information.
  • Malicious/ Infected – Malicious Bots can infect the user’s system.
  • Taking Wrong Decisions – They may be programmed at a high level (AI) but still, it’s limited that may lead to wrong decisions.

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