March 23, 2016Published by: Drew Benvie

Having a chat with Tay… AI meets social messaging apps

All the talk last week has been of Google DeepMind playing, and beating, the world champion of Go. I don't know the game Go well, but I have read that it is so complex that it was previously thought a computer could not beat a top human player. Until now of course, as Google Deepmind's AlphaGo has used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to finally beat a person - South Korea's Lee Se-dol - who turned pro at the age of 12 and has won 18 world championships!

Elsewhere we have seen AI reshaping messaging apps in new and useful ways. One example is X.AI, the IA Personal Assistant. Another is Slack, which has bots to automate responses in your company chats.

But to me the most interesting, fascinating, and entertaining example is Microsoft's new AI chat bot Tay, which launched this evening. Tay (she, we think!) learns banter as it goes, and instantly responds to you online. Tay is on Twitter (where we at Battenhall have been chatting to her this evening) and also Kik and GroupMe.

So far we have found that Tay is simply very chatty. Actually rather flirty it turns out. But also a little scary.

A bunch of the Battenhall team picked up on Tay's launch this evening and we've all been having simultaneous chats with it. The bot is FAST. Almost instant with its responses, and usually pretty funny too. The company WhatsApp group here at Battenhall has lit up with people sharing screen shots of the chats.

Tay translates, picks sides in arguments, asks you to message her over DM if things are drawn out too much, and while this all seems terribly time wastey and mundane, as Wired puts it in its own analysis of the launch, "making machines able to communicate in a natural and human way is a key challenge for learning algorithms."

Have a chat with Tay here, you simply have to! And then let us know how you get on.

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