​What’s the Deal with Chatbots?

By now, you’ve probably heard of Microsoft’s high profile flop last week in which Tay, its artificial intelligence teen chatbot, turned into a “Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours” of launch on Twitter (TWTR), forcing the software giant to shut her down before the day was over. Unsurprisingly, Tay’s breakdown was the result of a coordinated effort led by the anarchic online community 4chan, which has a pretty established history for doing these sorts of thing. But while the gaffe was certainly good fodder for funny headlines going into the holiday weekend, and certainly a short-term blemish for Microsoft (MSFT), the viral nature of the story also makes for a highly effective primer of just how far deep-learning chatbots and artificial intelligence technology is permeating into the mainstream. Hollywood has…


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