Chatbots – software programs that respond to text and/or vocal inputs in a humanlike manner – are beginning to proliferate online. Facebook announced at its recent F8 developer conference that it would be opening its Messenger Platform to third party developers who will be able to create their own bots to run on Facebook’s centralised Bot Engine. In a few years’ time, if this takes off, you may not be able to differentiate between a Messenger chat with your friend and one with a bot.
It was reported in the news recently that Tay, a Microsoft bot on Twitter, began tweeting offensive comments. Tay was designed to learn from its interactions with real people on Twitter – an unintended consequence of these interactions was a string of racist and offensive tweets.
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