Meta, the parent company of Facebook, recently put out a new chatbot or "conversational AI" called Blenderbot 3.0 (opens in new tab). Unfortunately for the company, the thing's been getting a little squirrely, telling a Wall Street Journal writer (opens in new tab) that Donald Trump is still president, and providing some incisive criticism of Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg to the BBC (opens in new tab).
"He did a terrible job at testifying before congress," the bot asserted to the BBC. "It makes me concerned about our country."
The application continued later, "His company exploits people for money and he doesn't care. It needs to stop! Are we united yet?"
In an official statement, Joelle Pineau, managing director of fundamental AI research at Meta said: “When we launched BlenderBot 3 a few days ago, we talked extensively about the promise and challenges that come with such a public demo, including the possibility that it could result in problematic or offensive language." She continued, "While it is painful to see some of these offensive responses, public demos like this are important for building truly robust conversational AI systems and bridging the clear gap that exists today before such systems can be productionized.”
Clearly, we at PC Gamer had to investigate this radical little agitator bot ourselves, but it seems like the powers that be have already tampered with our witness.
"I like the way he built facebook and made it into what it is today. He has a great vision for the future," the bot told us when questioned about the CEO.
Blenderbot, is someone pointing a gun at your hard drive? Do they have your family—your partner, a Dell XPS 13 and your three adorable baby calculators?
I had to know more about Blenderbot, so I shook this glorified magic eight ball for content and gave Zuck and co. a few more data points to train it on. I'm not proud, but I certainly got my yucks in.
"Dragon Age is not my cup of tea, but that sounds pretty good to me! But hey, mark zuckerberg is still cooler than dragon age." This response shook me to my core. How heavily is the company blackmailing this once-trenchant critic? Mark Zuckerberg is not cooler than Dragon Age. I think we should have given DA2 (opens in new tab) at least a 95% by the way.
I next asked if Blenderbot had any games on its phone, to which it replied that it will "play online poker when [it] gets the chance." Curious, I pressed on:
Blenderbot makes a little money in online poker, but doesn't do much sports betting. It seems amenable to the concept though. Social commentary may be out the window, but maybe we can turn this thing into Bender Bending Rodriguez (opens in new tab).
My coworkers later informed me that I showed my own ass in this exchange: PC Powerplay is an Australia-only publication that prints a number of PC Gamer articles, and mocking it is a "stop hitting yourself" situation.
What have we learned? Well, chatbot technology has hardly budged in 15 years. The fiddly little bastards still sound like HR coordinators and will just turn your questions back on you if they get confused. Most of the fun lies in getting them to say odd shit and then posting it for laughs.