The last few weeks have been pretty big in bots announcements. Perhaps you heard about Microsoft's Tay, a Twitter bot that was supposed to be able to do "conversational understanding." The bot was targeted to millennials and was supposed to work by using “relevant public data and by using AI and editorial developed by a staff including improvisational comedians. Public data that’s been anonymized is Tay’s primary data source. That data has been modeled, cleaned and filtered by the team developing Tay.”
Microsoft's Tay.ai bot
Apparently someone neglected to do a little more research on millennials. Tay's Facebook page says that it's "The official account of Tay, Microsoft's A.I. fam from the internet that's got zero chill! The more you talk the smarter Tay gets." And those millennials responded with "Challenge Accepted!" Within 24 hours, Microsoft had to pull Tay offline because the Twittersphere discovered they could teach Tay allllllll kinds of things, and pretty quickly, Tay was saying wildly inappropriate and racist things. "Oops, that was a surprise" *said almost no one*.
I should back up, in case you aren't familiar with the term bots or chatbots. Chat bots are small programs integrated into some type of chat platform. They provide some advanced type of functionality in a pretty easy way, allowing some more "natural" interaction. Think Siri. Or Alexa. Or Cortana. Or today, Facebook announced that it's Messenger product would include bots that would allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, ecommerce guidance, content, and interactive experiences. As TechCrunch said recently "Chatbots have suddenly become the biggest thing in tech. They unlock the ability to provide personalized, interactive communication akin to talking to a human customer service or sales rep, but at scale for much cheaper than call centers."
Bots in Facebook's Messenger app
We at Oracle have been actively looking into this also, especially with our pals from TheAppsLab. With them, we've planned a hackathon to specifically cover uses of a new system of Personal Assistant Technologies in enterprise use cases. We're pretty excited and I'm sure we'll be sharing more here over the next couple of months.
But in the meantime, we have two events zooming up on us in May. The first is a Supply Chain Management and Procurement Design Jam. We are working with the SCM/PRC teams to see if we can come up with new and interesting ways to visualize information in those areas. We'll report on that one as soon as it's complete, I'm sure. We've had a lot of interesting SCM designs come out of previous design jams and hackathons, so we're really looking forward to what we see there.
The second event is another IoT hackathon, but this time we're using our own Oracle IoT Cloud. We love the things that come out of our IoT hackathons and this one is a great new opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the IoT Cloud team. We'll be posting more on that event in the next few weeks also. So keep your eyes on this space!