Inside Amazon’s $3.5 million competition to make Alexa chat like a human

Onstage at the launch of Amazon’s Alexa Prize, a multimillion-dollar competition to build AI that can chat like a human, the winners of last year’s challenge delivered a friendly warning to 2018’s hopefuls: your bot will mess up, it will say something offensive, and it will be taken offline. Elizabeth Clark, a member of last year’s champion Sounding Board team from the University of Washington, was onstage with her fellow researchers to share what they’d learned from their experience. What stuck out, she said, were the bloopers.

“One thing that came up a lot around the holidays was that a lot of people wanted to talk to our bot about Santa,” said Clark. “Unfortunately, the content we had about Santa Claus looked like this: ‘You know…

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Author: James Vincent

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