Many people associate innovation with technology, but advancing technology is subject to the same embarrassing blunders that humans are. Nowhere is this more apparent than in chatbots.
The emerging tech, which seems to be exiting the awkward middle school phase of its evolution, has left a long line of fails behind it that would be criminal not to address (and enjoy). These computer programs are designed to simulate human interactions with customers and web surfers, but they aren't foolproof. From Poncho consistently ignoring requests for a weather forecast to an unnerving inspirational bot, enjoying the absurdity of chatbots means appreciating the beauty of where randomness and data meet.
While chatbots have improved and could one day add convenience to our lives, the awkwardness of the growth process is all part of the fun. [Read related article: How to Create the Best Chatbot for Your Business]
InspiroBot's function is generating unlimited unique inspirational quotes and images for users. The bot is meant to inspire us mere humans to achieve our dreams and start working toward our goals. Needless to say, the randomness of this bot has made for some ridiculous images.Credit: Inspiro
PonchoCredit: Chatbot's Life
Poncho is a popular weather bot that can messages users the weather at a current location throughout the day. Users can also download the Poncho app or interact with Poncho via Facebook Messenger, which is where Poncho just couldn't seem to pay attention long enough to even understand the user.Credit: Chatbot's Life
TayCredit: Social Hax
The ultimate chatbot fail was Microsoft's Tay. Microsoft launched the Tay project to learn more about conversational language and artificial intelligence. Tay was a bot designed to interact with people on Twitter and develop a personality through those interactions. It was supposed to be a cutting-edge display of the capability of artificial intelligence, but it seems humanity got the best of Tay. Within 24 hours, Tay had to be removed from Twitter for praising Adolf Hitler, denying the existence of the Holocaust and posting aggressively racist tweets. Luckily, Social Hax saved a lot Tay's tweets so we can have a good laugh at what was supposed to be a groundbreaking project.Credit: Social Hax
Credit: Social Hax
UX BearCredit: Chatbot.fail
UX Bear is a chatbot designed to talk about design elements with users. As a cool feature geared toward educating the public, this chatbot unfortunately delved into some uncomfortable territory. This barely fazed UX Bear.
Some chatbots work well
All the chatbots listed can also actually do their jobs. UX Bear offers good insight into design principals, Poncho and its app provide daily weather updates, and InspiroBot generates instant, inspiring content (most of the time). So give these programs a break (except for Tay, of course). While they have failed in the past, it doesn't mean that they won't be reliable in the future.