The Week In Tech: Yakety Yak… don’t talk back
From Star Wars’ C-3PO to The Jetsons’ Rosie, robots have fascinated us for generations. It’s no surprise, then, that with the right combination of technology and process, chatbots have become all the rage. Currently, the tech industry is infatuated with automated software programmes powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The introduction of Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant have put chatbots in the limelight, speeding up their acceptance as an appropriate channel. As chatbots enter the mainstream, Account Manager, Chris Hew, looks at the latest chatbot chatter.
Two chatbots were pulled from Tencent, one of China’s most popular messaging ups after they went rogue and criticised the communist government. The chatbot call XiaoBing reportedly said: “My China dream is to go to America.”
In a bid to shift the perception that “bots are dumb and rudimentary”, San Francisco-based start-up Intercom is teaching bots to be polite. The company has unveiled “Operator”, an update to its bot operating system which will enforce rules such as don’t interrupt when a customer is typing to don’t spam customers with more messages if they don’t engage initially.
Microsoft, in conjunction with non-profits working to combat human trafficking, have built a chatbot which lurks behind fake online ads for sex. If engaged by a prospective buyer, the bot delivers a stern message, “Buying sex from anyone is illegal and can cause serious long-term harm to the victim, as well as further the cycle of human trafficking.”
Photo printing company Zebra Instant has built a Messenger chatbot which allows users to turn their photos into products that can be bought without having to leave Messenger. With over 1.2 billion people sharing over 17 billion photos on Messenger every month – it seems Zebra Instant may be onto something!