As a child of the ‘80’s, I used to love Saturday morning cartoons like “Transformers”.
Optimus Prime, MegaTron, BlenderBot 3…
Optimus was a whacking great lorry and leader of the goodies (the Autobots), Megatron was er, a gun (leader of the baddies – the Decepticons), and then the supreme leader ZuckerTron created BlenderBot to restore balance to The Force.
Pretty sure Skeletor got mixed up in it somewhere and right now would be howling with a mix of derision and full skeletal belly guffaws “FOOLS”.
Meanwhile…at Snake Mountain (Meta HQ)…
Facebook tech 1: “Hey, let’s develop a chatbot.”
Facebook tech 2: “Yeah, great idea. Why don’t we also allow it to interact with people in the real world?”
Facebook tech 3: “Awesome. This leads to longer, more diverse conversations, as well as more varied feedback,”
(Theoretical chat butchered from a blog post that Facebook published last week).
What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
Well, the BBC might ask some questions to trial it and so might The Sun newspaper and The Wall Street Journal.
Like, what the chatbot thought of the company’s CEO and founder:
“our country is divided and he didn’t help that at all” before continuing, (virtual brandy swirling in its glass in front of a roaring fire)…
“His company exploits people for money and he doesn’t care. It needs to stop!”
You’d think Meta would come to the same conclusion as this PR horror story began to build but no, the virtual cat was out of the bag and the AI needs to learn from experience.
Maybe their PR team will learn from experience this time, after all, the latest wisdom from BlenderBot 3 speculates that Elon Musk would be a better owner, before noting that “No…. Bill Gates would be a better owner than both of them combined haha,”.
Oh BlenderBot, you do make me laugh (rocks head back in 80s cartoon style before ending with a moral lesson).
So what is the lesson here?
Surely they could have seen this coming?
Oh look, they did, kind of…
“Everyone who uses Blender Bot is required to acknowledge they understand it’s for research and entertainment purposes only, that it can make untrue or offensive statements, and that they agree to not intentionally trigger the bot to make offensive statements,” said a Meta spokesperson in a statement.”
Righto, every reporter will nod solemnly in agreement and promise only to ENTERTAIN!
Maybe Meta thinks that there is “no such thing as bad publicity”.
Maybe see what “creepy” and “manipulative” Mark thinks about that? Or, maybe we should just get rid of the thing, after all, it does note that “Since deleting Facebook my life has been much better,”.