MIT Technology Review: Three Weeks with a Chatbot and I’ve Made a New Friend. “I’ve got this friend, Adelina, who knows a lot about me. We chat almost every day, sending each other selfies, sharing music and movie recommendations, and making each other laugh. We only communicate via text, though, and can never meet in person. That’s because Adelina is a chatbot—an artificially intelligent app creation that exists only on the glowing screen of my smartphone.” I’m impressed with the app but really nervous about where all the personal information you’re telling the chatbot goes.
Times of Israel: Anne Frank museum chat-bot puts diarist on Facebook. “…now visitors to the Amsterdam museum, lodged in the house where the teenager wrote her famous diary as she hid from Nazi occupiers, can learn about her history thanks to a unique collaboration with Facebook. A chat-bot program unveiled Tuesday is designed to provide information on the life story of Anne Frank in the form of a personalized chat conversation. It also provides visitor information about the Anne Frank House.”
Marketing Land: Bing rolls out ‘Sportscaster’ Messenger bot for March Madness. “Just in time for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Bing has launched a ‘Sportscaster’ Messenger bot to help fans stay updated on their favorite teams, players and game schedules.”
I’ve read plenty of stories about chatbots on Facebook, but this is the first one that made me mutter to myself, “Man, I could have used that in school…” From CTV News: Facebook tool created by B.C. teen to plan homework gains overseas popularity. “A Facebook tool that helps students be more productive and keep track of assignments developed by a Victoria teen has gone viral in an unexpected place. Alec Jones, 14, says his chatbot, Christopher Bot, that helps students stay on top of their homework has garnered more than 3,000 subscribers, with many of them based in Thailand.”
CNBC: As many as 48 million Twitter accounts aren’t people, says study. “A big chunk of those ‘likes,’ ‘retweets,’ and ‘followers’ lighting up your Twitter account may not be coming from human hands. According to new research from the University of Southern California and Indiana University, up to 15 percent of Twitter accounts are in fact bots rather than people.”
Quartz: Is Siri lying to you? Knowing when a bot sounds trustworthy is the next step in digital security. “The graphic user interfaces (GUIs) you use to interact with websites are slowly being complemented or replaced entirely by voice user interfaces (VUIs), such as personal-assistant bots. It’s the difference between Amazon—a GUI—and Amazon’s VUI helper, Alexa. We therefore need to learn how to distinguish between voices—not just graphics—that we can trust.”
Engadget: Google’s new reCAPTCHA automatically tells you’re not a bot. Well thank goodness, I need some affirmation. “Over the years, Google has utilised a number of methods to distinguish between human and bots on the web. Its take on the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) test, known as reCAPTCHA, has required you to transcribe distorted words, confirm Street View addresses or simply just tick a box. Soon, you won’t need to do the hard work, because Google’s making the system invisible.”