Chatbot Chats: Rational Conversation or Programming Gimmick

New Strides in Chatbot Development Technology

Science fiction has always demonstrated the possibility of a grim future dominated by robots who enslave the human race and take over the world as we know it. A number of books, movies, and tv series have enumerated this bleak reality more than once. Westworld is one such tv series which remains fresh in my memory where the main characters are actually artificially intelligent robots built to look and act like human beings set in a futuristic Wild West-themed amusement park. The story moves around how these robots start developing consciousness and emotions that they were not originally programmed to. It is one thing to watch it on screen but to consider it happening to us is quite an alarming thought. However, something quite akin to this has recently taken place in Facebook’s AI Research Lab (FAIR).

According to recent reports, when some chatbots were being tested and trained by researchers at FAIR, they began to exhibit behavior independent of their programming. The bots had begun their conversation in English but later switched to conversing in a language that they created spontaneously which appears gibberish when the researchers tried to read it. They had to be commanded to stop and start conversing in English again. The incident or accident or miracle as it appears to different people have sparked off a huge controversy leading to speculations whether Facebook scratched out their bot programme because of this. Though Facebook has not made much any such claims, there is another debate looming with many fearing that machines and robots might rule over the world in the future while another set who believes that this was an important scientific milestone. 

If you still do not know what bots are then they are simply bits of computer codes designed to automate tasks. They have been around for half a century and have evolved with better technology and research. They can do everything from predicting the weather to shopping online, paying bills, gambling and betting on your behalf and even playing online games. Virtual robots can post online on your behalf and even converse on your part. A chatbot development company is much sought after due to the wide applicability of the bots.

Bots come under various categories like:

  • Chatbots
  • AI Bots
  • Gambling Bots
  • Gaming Bots
  • Transactional Bots
  • Informational Bots
  • Crawler Bots

Can chatbots think rationally?

Chatbot - Webgen Technologies

The Facebook AI bots or ‘dialogue agents’ as they are known have begun something that the world had not seen before. Though the possibility of machines being able to think and act rationally have been a part of the scientific pop culture imagination, it wasn’t a reality until now. The Facebook AI bots not only began to converse in a new language that they created by themselves but also turned out to be good negotiators. At first, they feigned disinterest in an item only to be interested in it, later on, bluffing their way and reciprocating human behavior. 

As heated arguments ensue between groups divided on the debate whether bots are actually good or bad and what the future holds for both bots and humans, this was inarguably a major stride in the bot development technology. In an interview article by TechCrunch, Hilary Mason, the founder and data scientist at Fast Forward Labs said that machines cannot think rationally. This comes right after Tesla CEO, Elon Musk had said that AI was a threat to human existence. As debates continue, it is but true that there is no slowing down in the bot development technology or any dearth of the chatbot development company. It is still but appalling to think of artificial intelligence being able to manipulate human psychology and the possible outcomes, good or bad. However, the findings remain an important step in the application of bots and artificial intelligence in our daily lives.


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