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A chat with Pixie, Princeton University's socialbotHere's what it's like talking to a bot that runs on Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.
Alexa, start pixie. Hi, this is a Alexa prize social bot. Tell me something interesting. A sheep, a duck and a rooster were the first passengers in a hot air balloon. Here in this classroom at Princeton university, a small group of grad students get together to work on a social bot called Pixie. That runs on Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. Their work is part of the Alexa Prize, a college competition Amazon started to encourage the development of chattier and more human-like AIs. So the idea is to try and create a chatbot that can talk to someone, maintain a conversation for about 20 minutes You have to cater to a wide variety of opinions, a wide variety of interests, and it's fun to see what people want from this and where people take these conversations. Creating a social bot that can carry on a long conversation, is one of the long standing problems of AI. It requires teaching a robot all about our world. THat's why Pixie still gets a lot of things wrong. Where do you live? Where do we live interests me too. [LAUGH] Where do you live? [MUSIC] Earth. I think people find it easy to imagine these as people at the same time. There's a kind of distance that comes from knowing that you're not talking to a real person.It allows you to [MUSIC] Say things you wouldn't say in real life. The Princeton team envisions creating social bots that could someday be used for customer service, or be companions for the elderly. Sing a song. [MUSIC] Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I am half crazy, all for the love of you.