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What is a bot and what is it for?

13 Dec 2022. 17:41
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Every day we encounter tasks performed by bots. A clear example of this is Google searches or the consumption of interesting content on social networks. Bots are often more present in our lives than we are aware of. Below, we will explain exactly what a bot is, what types exist and what their main functions are.

You will see how, from now on, you will be able to distinguish more than one task in your day-to-day life performed by a bot that you didn't know before. So let's get to it!

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What is a bot?

The term bot comes from the word robot, and refers to a computer program developed to perform tasks automatically. The use of bots is focused on performing repetitive tasks by simulating human behavior. To make them work, it is necessary to use certain technologies based on artificial intelligence

Bots can perform basic tasks that humans do, such as sending messages and e-mails or making it possible to order food through an application. All this in a much shorter time than people.


How does a bot work?

The general functioning of a bot is based on three technological pillars. We explain them to you!

  • Artificial intelligence: a combination of algorithms that allow bots to emulate human behavior.  
  • Machine learning: a discipline within the field of intelligence that, through algorithms that process data, allows systems to learn automatically.  
  • Cognitive computing: is an information and application system that allows bots to develop cognitive processes similar to those of people through the perception of images, sounds and information.


What is a bot for?

The main purpose of bots is to make our lives easier, since they allow us to perform a large number of everyday tasks through the network. Tasks that would take us hours, or even days to perform. Meanwhile, these programs are able to do them instantly. Among them, the most common, and that you have surely used, are:

  • Correcting texts, typos and even making text predictions.
  • Send mass e-mails.
  • Chatting with users, allowing you to offer customer service 24 hours a day.
  • Crawl the web in search of new content.
  • Order food or make a reservation in a mobile application without the need to talk to someone.

Surely you are familiar with some of the tasks we have described. Now let's take a look at the most common types of bots by their use.


Most common types of bots


Chatbots are software that have the ability to simulate a real conversation with a person in real time. There is a great variety of chatbots, from the simplest ones that only answer frequently asked general questions, to the most sophisticated ones that learn and improve the interaction as people use them. The most common chatbots are customer service chatbots.


Virtual assistant

The most common are voice bots and combine natural language processing and artificial intelligence to engage in conversations with other people in a fluid and instantaneous way. Does it remind you of Siri, Google or Alexa? Then you can imagine what their uses are. These bots act as virtual assistants for users, allowing them to resolve doubts or perform certain tasks such as opening applications, playing music or setting alarms.


Web crawler bots

Web crawlers, also known as crawlers or spiders, are computer programs capable of crawling all web pages, analysing their information and understanding it in order to classify and sort them on a server. A clear example of this bot would be the one used by Google to display its searches.


Malicious bots

So far we have seen a number of common bots that seek to make people's lives easier. However, there are bots that are programmed for another type of use: cyberattacks. Normally, the goal of these bots is to illegally obtain information or cause damage to a system. Like other bots, there are different types.

Cyberattacks using bots are very common and are intended to illegally access or damage other people's systems.


A few final thoughts on bots

The types of bots we have presented are just some of the most common ones. There is a great variety of them with multiple uses and, as you may have seen, with correct use, they are there to make our day-to-day life easier. However, we must also be cautious to prevent any attack from this technology.

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