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April 24th, 2024

RAG + CALM: From Chatty Deflection to Automation - Webinar Recap

  • portrait of Kara Hartnett

    Kara Hartnett

If you're a developer looking to push the boundaries of what chatbots can do, you understand that the journey from simple Q&A bots to sophisticated, fully automated systems is challenging and necessary. Today’s businesses demand more than just basic interactions – they require intelligent assistants who can autonomously handle complex customer needs.

While Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) has simplified chatbot building, it is unreliable. While RAG can be used to build complex chatbots, there are solutions more suited to building advanced conversational interfaces.

RAG pulls information quickly and effectively, which is fantastic for setting up FAQ bots or enhancing existing platforms with smarter, more context-aware responses. However, it struggles with tasks that require deep, contextual understanding and dynamic decision-making.

This webinar recap blog explores why using RAG alone might prevent you from achieving true conversational excellence. We'll uncover how integrating RAG with Rasa's Conversational AI with Language Models (CALM) framework can transform your chatbots. Merging RAG with CALM’s ability to manage complex, transactional dialogues reliably brings the AI experience from simple chatty interactions to action-driven automation.

The Role of RAG in Conversational AI

RAG has been a game-changer for chatbots. It's great for bootstrapping FAQ bots but they could be better at handling simple tasks. By tapping into extensive databases, RAG helps chatbots deliver more accurate and relevant answers, which is perfect when you just need a quick fact or a straightforward solution to a common problem.

But there's a catch. While RAG does an excellent job at making chatbots smarter by fetching the right info, it doesn't fully transform them into the adaptive, highly intuitive assistants we dream of creating—what we'd call a Level 5 conversational assistant. These adaptive assistants pick up cues and adjust their behavior to decide whether the user seeks basic information or requires extra clarification based on their own research.

The main issue with RAG is that it primarily retrieves information without truly understanding the deeper needs and context of interaction. This approach fails to meet customer expectations for chatbots, which are increasingly expected to solve problems and execute tasks autonomously. Effective AI support actively manages and resolves user requests.

To build a chatbot that isn't just reactive but truly interactive and adaptive, try mixing RAG with more advanced systems like CALM. This combination allows for a smarter, more contextual approach where chatbots can react appropriately to user needs.

Beyond FAQs: The Need for Complex Automation

Moving from informational chatbots to truly helpful, problem-solving AI tools is a big leap—but it’s where the real value lies. While it's great to have a chatbot that can quickly pull up FAQs and provide straightforward answers, today's businesses and users expect much more. They need AI that acts and takes steps to resolve issues, not just discuss them.

Automation transforms your chatbot from a glorified search engine into a proactive, problem-solving assistant that can handle complex tasks despite potential reliability problems like those seen in RAG systems.

Imagine a chatbot that does more than tell a customer how to reset their password; it initiates the reset process, verifies user identity, and confirms completion—all within the same interaction. This level of automation resolves the customer's issue then and there. This means happier customers and fewer resources spent on routine business support tasks.


When combined with RAG, Rasa's CALM framework fetches relevant information, understands it, and acts upon it in context. This means transforming interactions from simple Q&A into dynamic, problem-solving conversations.

Integrating Context-Based, Transactional Logic

CALM integrates deeply with RAG to infuse conversations with context-based, transactional logic. While RAG effectively retrieves information, CALM combines retrieved information with flows (business logic). This allows the AI to answer questions and execute tasks based on the business logic, making interactions much more fluid and intuitive.

For example, the webinar shows how CALM and RAG work together to handle complex customer service scenarios. Unlike a standard RAG setup, which is really only good at answering informational questions, the CALM chatbot can schedule appointments, process transactions, or update customer data in real-time based on the conversation's needs. This dynamic capability ensures the system can seamlessly handle informational queries and transactions.

Examples from the Webinar

During the webinar, we demo a CALM + RAG-powered assistant in action, contrasting its capabilities with those of a typical RAG-only application. In one scenario, a user asks about changing their flight reservation—a task involving multiple steps requiring access to up-to-date information. The CALM + RAG assistant guides the user through selecting a new flight and confirming the change, all within the same interaction.

In contrast, a standard RAG application only provides information on changing a flight, leaving the user to do everything else themselves. This indicates the difference between offering information and providing a solution. CALM + RAG turns the assistant into an active participant in the conversation.

Why Watch the Webinar?

This Rasa webinar is a crucial resource if you want to enhance your chatbots beyond simple interactions. Here’s why it's worth your time:

  • Deepen your understanding of how CALM enhances RAG for more complex, actionable AI interactions.
  • Watch live examples showcasing the practical benefits of this technology in action.
  • Learn to implement advanced automation that transforms chatbot interactions into comprehensive problem-solving tools.

This webinar builds on the insights shared in this blog and provides a fuller understanding of practical applications. It offers a detailed look at integrating these technologies into your AI projects.

Watch the Replay Now

Take the Next Step with Rasa

We've explored how combining Rasa's CALM with RAG can revolutionize your chatbot capabilities, from basic Q&A to handling complex interactions that efficiently automate and resolve customer issues. This integration enhances user engagement and enables chatbots to dynamically perform context-sensitive tasks.

Now, it's time to put this knowledge into action. Explore the Rasa Pro Developer Edition to further explore the possibilities. You can also join the Rasa Community Forum to connect with other forward-thinking developers and stay updated on the latest in conversational AI technology.

Whether you're looking to refine existing applications or build sophisticated new systems, Rasa offers the tools and community support to help you lead the way in AI-driven customer interaction.