Google has released a neural-network-powered chatbot called Meena that it claims is better than any other chatbot out there.
Data slurp: Meena was trained on a whopping 341 gigabytes of public social-media chatter—8.5 times as much data as OpenAI’s GPT-2. Google says Meena can talk about pretty much anything, and can even make up (bad) jokes.
Why it matters: Open-ended conversation that covers a wide range of topics is hard, and most chatbots can’t keep up. At some point most say things that make no sense or reveal a lack of basic knowledge about the world. A chatbot that avoids such mistakes will go a long way toward making AIs feel more human, and make characters in video games more lifelike.
Sense and specificity: To put Meena to the test, Google has developed a new metric it calls the Sensibleness and Specificity Average (SSA), which captures important attributes for natural conversations, such as whether each utterance makes sense in context—which many chatbots can do—and is specific to what has just been said, which is harder.
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