Facebook’s chatbot shows empathy, knowledge, and personality

Facebook has introduced its new chatbot, “Blender”, that is able to show empathy, knowledge, and personality.

The artificial intelligence (“AI”) behind Blender has been trained to become human-like by processing 1.5 billion Reddit posts which included countless examples of human exchanges.

How “human” has Blender become through this process? Most would say pretty close to human!

Still, AI experts caution that using a platform such as Reddit does come with drawbacks as Blender would occasionally respond to users using foul or offensive language in some instances or it would make up facts in others.

A Facebook spokesperson responded to this by stating that “We believe that releasing models is essential to enable full, reliable insights into their capabilities”.

AI expert Dave Coplin, chief executive of consulting firm “The Envisioners”, said that Blender was a “step in the right direction,” but raised two fundamental issues that would have to be overcome:

  • Firstly, how complicated it is to replicate all the nuances of a human attribute, such as the ability to hold a conversation; and

  • Secondly, the link between the data used to train the chatbot and the results created by the chatbot.

“As great a platform as Reddit is, training algorithms based on the conversations you find there is going to get you a lot of chaff amongst the wheat.”

So how does Blender’s performance compare with “Meena”, Google’s version of a chatbot? Facebook tested this by presenting 2 different conversations with Blender and Meena on topics such as movies and veganism. Stats collected by Facebook showed that 67% of respondents thought Blender sounded more human-like than Meena.

“We achieved this milestone through a new chatbot recipe that includes improved decoding techniques, novel blending of skills, and a model with 9.4 billion parameters, which is 3.6x more than the largest existing system.

“This is the first chatbot to blend a diverse set of conversational skills together in one system.”

“Building a truly intelligent dialogue agent that can chat like a human remains one of the largest open challenges in AI today.”

Get engaged with Facebook Blender here!


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