This Startup Is Teaching Chatbots Real Empathy

“I’m panicked,” I type into Kik. “I don’t have anything to wear for my interview tomorrow and my hair is being stupid.” A few minutes later, someone I’ve never met texts back: “It’s ok to look like what u really are.” My problem was fake, but the response was articulate, sensitive, and most of all, very human. I’ve just received some decent life advice from an anonymous good Samaritan somewhere in the world, brought to me by a company called Koko. Today, the startup is announcing a $2.5 million Series A round of financing, as well as the expansion its service to Facebook Messenger and the messaging app Telegram. But Koko’s larger strategy is to bring empathy to all the coldhearted chatbots like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana. Launched in 2014…


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