Conversations and understanding amongst humans require common sense and empathy – characteristics that set human exchange apart from machine-generated dialogue. With Siri or Alexa already exceeding expectations for humanized bots, Facebook is stepping in to create AI with a little more personality.
The tech giant’s recent development, a chatbot designed by its AI team, combines personality, general knowledge and a little artificial empathy to mimic human chitchat. Dubbed ‘Blender’, the new chatbot builds on new AI innovation and language picked up from the social platform. Among its potential uses in the future are functions that need to be more engaging and personal such as voice assistants and auto-complete algorithms.
While Facebook is yet to launch Blender fully, the company has so far shared snippets of the bot chatting with users online about Game of Thrones, vegetarianism, and a handful of other random topics.
Banking on actual conversations from sites like Reddit, Blender captures emphatic conversations and personalities to use for its training data.
“Scale is not enough,” says Facebook research engineer Emily Dinan (check out some of her amazing research on text, NLP, behaviour and conversational AI here), who worked alongside the team to create Blender. “You have to make sure you’re fine-tuning to give your model the appropriate conversational skills like empathy, personality, and knowledge.”