What Chatbots Reveal About Our Own Shortcomings

On Technology By JENNA WORTHAM April 21, 2016 Every so often, an idea comes along that mesmerizes Silicon Valley and convinces the most powerful people there that this innovation will irrevocably alter the course of humankind. Outsize proclamations are made, lavish events are held and millions of dollars in venture money are funneled into young, unproven companies. Right now, that fixation has landed on chatbots, little artificial-intelligence programs that work like personalized assistants. In January, Sam Lessin, an entrepreneur and former Facebook employee who is working on his own chatbot called Fin, wrote a blog post breathlessly declaring the trend “a fundamental shift that is going to change the types of applications that get developed and the style of service development in the Valley.” If prominent investors, executives and entrepreneurs like Lessin…


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