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Your Chatbot Should Accommodate These Six Entity Types

Capturing Entities Efficiently Is the Holy Grail of Chatbot Design

Cobus Greyling
6 min readOct 29, 2019



Here is the challenge, your chatbot presents the user with the allure of entering unstructured conversational data, in natural language. It is very enticing for users, the charm of speaking to a computer interface and being understood.

For the first time the shoe is on the other foot, the computer needs to figure the humans out, and not the other way round.

What is an Entity?

The three words used most often in relation to chatbots are utterances, Intents and Entities.

An utterance is really anything the user will say. The utterance can be a sentence, some instances a few sentences, or just a word or a phrase. During the design phase it is anticipate what your users might say to your bot.

An Intent is the user’s intention with their utterance, or engagement with your bot. Think of intents as verbs, or working words. An utterance or single dialog from a user needs to be distilled into an intent.

Entities can be seen as nouns, often they are referred to as slots. These are usually things like date, time, cities, names, brands etc. Capturing these entities are crucial for taking action based on the user’s intent.

Think of a travel bot, capturing the cities of departure, destination, travel mode, price, dates and times is at the foundation of the interface. Yet, this is the hardest part of the Chatbot. Keep in mind the user enters data randomly and in no particular order.

The list of entity types we will be looking at is:

· Simple Entities
· Composite Entities
· Entity Roles
· Entity Lists
· Regular Expressions
· Prebuilt Models

Simple Entities

If you have to extract a simple job name, or city name, you really want to be able to extract that entity based on the context within it is expressed. This is particularly handy if you have an infinite list of…



Cobus Greyling

I explore and write about all things at the intersection of AI and language; NLP/NLU/LLM, Chat/Voicebots, CCAI.