Social media engaged tech enthusiasts most certainly remember the short lifespan of Microsoft’s controversial chatbot – Tay. Built by interlinking algorithms enabling communication with the global youths, Tay backfired mercilessly as it turned into a Hitler-loving, racist bot. Hence, it had to be abruptly shut down in a matter of mere 16 hours from launch. However, Microsoft has made necessary amendments, flagging critical subjects such as politics as a no-go territory for Microsoft Zo – considered as Tay’s successor.
Zo is based on the technology used to power Microsoft’s other chatbots in China and Japan, xiaoice and Rinna. Since its launch date, Microsoft says Zo has already collected over 115,000 users — with the longest conversations lasting for nine hours. It has its base stationed on Kik, a similar messaging application like Facebook and Whatsapp.
Nonetheless, users who don’t have a Kik account can specify they have a Facebook or Snapchat account, suggesting Microsoft will test the bot on other platforms in the future.The bot is also available on zo.ai but it has not enabled chat features yet.
The new Microsoft bot learns to gradually develop real-time conversation interacting with humans. It is also said to imitate humans using words and emotions together, like its predecessor Tay. Though Zo allows users to partake in normal conversation with the AI interface, it lacks the ability of freely maneuvering overall online engagement content. Microsoft aims at keeping Zo away from troubles that Tay brought in. Therefore Microsoft has a different demographic target, set for the new bot.
According to DMR stats , over 60% of people who use bots on Kik messenger are aged between 13 – 19 and roughly 40% of all US users on Kik messenger are either young adults or teens. Contemplating that the particular age group is the key feeders to Zo’s machine learning and natural language processing algorithms, it is likely for the bot to appear with a millennial mindset.
However, you can never tell what loopholes willful people could come across to corrupt Zo’s database with similar inappropriate remarks as Tay’s.
Still, in its developmental stages, Zo is yet to reach maturity. Pre-predicting the path Zo takes based on its initial learning is ambiguous. Users need to give time for the bot to grow in order to come up with a conclusion. For those keen on testing out the baby bot, Zo’s home base, Kik messenger is available for download on ios, android or windows 10 mobile or you could directly login to Zo.ai. In Kik messenger search for the username Zo.ai to get started.