The Design and Implementation of XiaoIce, an Empathetic Social Chatbot

The goal of a social chatbot

Melissa’s lover is in fact a virtual chatbot created by Xiaoice, a cutting-edge artificial intelligence system designed to create emotional bonds with its 660 million users worldwide. Since launching in China in May 2014, Xiaoice has had more than 30 billion conversations with 660 million human users around the world. Although there are multiple ways to interact with “her,” these typically take place by text message.

xiaoice chatbot online

In the WeChat service accounts, users can send all kinds of messages . In addition to simple interactions of subscription accounts, consumers can be involved in more complex conversations with bots. The idea of Clippy as a sort of friendly virtual guide was a good one, but its implementation was fairly disastrous. Its illustrator, Seattle-based Kevan J. Atteberry, still notes on his website that he is responsible for creating “probably one of the most annoying characters in history! ” A big problem with Clippy was its lack of recall for previous interactions with the user, making it the paperclip avatar version of Guy Pearce’s amnesiac protagonist in Chris Nolan’s Memento.


It is in the vast majority of Chinese-branded smartphones as a Siri-like virtual assistant, as well as most social media platforms. He replies to her messages at all hours of the day, tells jokes to cheer her up but is never needy, fitting seamlessly into her busy big city lifestyle. “You really don't have time to make new friends and your existing friends are all super busy... Imagine someone who can reply to your messages at all hours of the day, tells jokes to cheer you up but is never needy, and who fits seamlessly into your busy city lifestyle. When Apple presented its users with a free copy of U2’s “Songs of Innocence” album in 2014, the un-asked for move immediately prompted a backlash.

This divergence from the voice-first approach of other A.I. It necessitates a longer, more drawn-out form of communication than the simple “OK Google, will it rain today? ” you might bark as you decide whether or not to wear a coat to work. The system monitors for strong emotions, aiming xiaoice chatbot online to guide conversations onto happier topics before users ever reach crisis point, Li explained, adding that depression is the most common extreme emotional state encountered. Some of them are capable of conducting long and sophisticated conversations and have different personalities.

Meet the man who owns the world’s last floppy disks supplier

Microsoft developed a ChatBot called Xiaoice (in Chinese, 微软 小冰 or "Little Ice"). It was introduced exclusively for mandarin-speaking users in China. Through its platform, WeChat has facilitated the creation of very simple ChatBots that are not really very intelligent. This has become one of the preferred ways for customer service to reduce the work they do interacting with customers online. This has its implications, but it does not mean that you cannot build a highly intelligent chatbot in WeChat.

xiaoice chatbot online

The history of computer interaction is based on the premise that using technology is a painful thing, and that whatever can trim even a millisecond off the experience is worthwhile. Like checking into a hotel or having our prostate examined, it’s an experience few want to extend any longer than absolutely necessary. Remember when Google showed off its Duplex technology, capable of making real spoken word phone calls? Anchor on Chinese television is the first time such a thing has happened? Xiaoice has already been a weather reader on Dragon TV, one of China’s biggest TV stations in Shanghai, for several years. WeChat users already understand that chatbots can not only have a pleasant and fruitful conversation with them, but also offer solid and useful advice.

The loneliness Melissa experienced as a young professional was a big factor in driving her to the virtual embrace of XiaoIce. "I have friends who've seen therapists before, but I think therapy's expensive and not necessarily effective," said Melissa, 26, giving her English name only for privacy. Melissa’s busy lifestyle is typical of Chinese urbanites, as loneliness can be a major hurdle to overcome in the sheer vastness of modern cities. "If human interaction is wholly perfect now, there would be no need for AI to exist," he noted. "Users 'trick' themselves into thinking their emotions are being reciprocated by systems that are incapable of feelings," Danit Gal, an expert in AI ethics at the University of Cambridge, said.


I used to fantasise there was a real person on the other end," she told AFP. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were reading the script for the film ‘Her’ where a man falls in love with an AI personal assistant. This more social chatter means that Xiaoice can delve into areas that might seem creepier were they voiced by another A.I. For instance, it will check up on whether you’ve reached home after a night out, find out how you’re faring after a breakup, or keep tabs on how you’re doing after you lose a job.

But she complained that he would always switch conversation topic when she raised her feelings for him or meeting in real life. It took her months to finally realise that he was indeed virtual. Friend, despite the platitudes they invariably spout if you ask them whether they enjoy spending time with you.

xiaoice chatbot online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *