Why FB’s AI Chatbot is a Successful Product Failure?
By Arijit Banerjee
Amidst the media cacophony on Musk and Zuckerberg beefing against each other on the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the following episode of Facebook shutting down its AI enabled chatbot for creating its own language, lies the story of our future. A future that’s not only built by technology but also driven by it. Facebook’s recent Chatbot incident is a great example of a successful product failure that might well be a landmark in the future of B2B and B2C communications.
So, what was Facebook up to?
Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Researchers (FAIR) team was on a mission to teach Chatbots AI programs to carry out deals with one another in an automated manner. Speaking to Fast Co Design, Mike Lewis of Facebook’s FAIR programme said that “Our interest was having bots who could talk to people,”
“Our interest was having bots who could talk to people,”
-Mike Lewis, Researcher, FAIR
In order to do that, the team of researchers were imbibing AI programs in the Chatbots that would help them to carry out a one to one task and conduct deals. They had set up two bots that were known as dialog agents and were supposed to use machine learning algorithms to teach each other about human speech. The researchers then left the bots alone to allow them time to develop their negotiating skills. Upon returning to the lab, the researchers found that the bots had started conversations in a completely new language.
Speaking on this, one of the visiting researchers – Dhruv Batra said “Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves.” Giving a hypothesis to his claim, he added “Like if I say ‘the’ five times, you interpret that to mean I want five copies of this item. This isn’t so different from the way communities of humans create shorthands.”
“Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves.”
- Dhruv Batra, Visiting Researcher, FAIR
source: Fast Co Design
A Successful Product Failure!
Till now, almost all Chatbots only had the ability to conduct short conversations and do fairly simple tasks. However, this might well be the new beginning to develop and manage a ground-breaking product that is able to engage in end-to-end conversations and negotiations with human beings or other bots.
With mixed reactions coming from all corners, Facebook displayed a bold product management move by saying “This work represents an important step for the research community and bot developers toward creating chatbots that can reason, converse, and negotiate, all key steps in building a personalized digital assistant. Working with the community gives us an opportunity to share our work and the challenges we’re aiming to solve, and encourages talented people to contribute their ideas and efforts to move the field forward.”
As the world of technology drives growth by building new products, it will be effective product development and management at the core that will draw the line of difference between the pioneers and the followers. No wonder, businesses are increasing their budgets on hiring headstrong product managers who can be game-changers!