We believe that natural conversations will be a key part of how we interact with computers in the future, blending seamlessly with other inputs such as touch and gesture.
The problem is that it’s really hard to build great conversational software.
We started prototyping our first bots in late 2015, and three months later, we had customers paying for a chatbot that answered questions by translating them into SQL and querying the company’s data warehouse. Unfortunately, we quickly had to realize that building bots is not as easy as we thought, and that most conversations are not just as simple as “one question / one answer”.
At that time, there really weren’t any good tools out there for developers to build conversational software. Talking to hundreds of other developers through our meetup, at bot conferences and online confirmed that we don’t know how to build conversational software yet.
And so, Rasa was born. Since then, we’ve spent the last 2 years looking deep into research and working with our customers, starting to solve the major challenges in building more human-like bots and assistants.
Rasa is based on two simple beliefs:
Open source is key to making this technology accessible to as many developers as possible. The breakthrough chat and voice experiences that will be built in the coming years won’t offload the intelligence layer to a web API, but will have them integrated in their core.
We’ve heard over and over from bot makers all around the world that they don’t want to rely on 3rd party tools like wit, api.ai, and luis. But also, enterprises want to own their data, deploy their systems on premise and are afraid of a vendor lock-in.
So, at the end of 2016, we open sourced our NLU engine. Rasa NLU is now used by thousands of developers and companies worldwide (and our next open source product is launching soon!)
We read all of the academic literature on dialogue systems and NLU, and spoke at length with the top research groups in the field. We felt that we could make a big impact by filling the gap between what researchers publish and what developers and enterprises need, and shipping production-grade software.
Rasa stands for doing applied AI research and shipping tools that make the state of the art available to developers all over the world. On top of that, we provide enterprises the right tools to develop and run Rasa within a large organisation combined with world-class support.
Why is this relevant?
Because the world is full of overly complicated interfaces. Just think of your telco’s customer service, your local government website, or your favorite airline’s app.
Rasa is here to give developers the tools to radically simplify these interfaces and make our lives easier and more pleasant.