Xiaoice, pronounced “Shao-ice,” or the Chinese phrase for “little Bing, is the name of the AI system developed through Microsoft. Though not noticed in the states, currently, it is the most popular social chatbot in the world.
As form follows function as in its design to support social conversation, Xiaoice’s response and conversational dialog are designed to be friendly and engaging. To use words and phrases that allow it to respond as a friend.
It is such a success, the chatbot is known and sought by users for its emotional response and listening skills.
In fact, millions of young Chinese seek out Xiaoice on their smartphone in moments when the need emotional feedback. Times including when they have a broken heart, have lost a job or have been feeling down.
“When I am in a bad mood, I will chat with her,” said Xiaoice user Gao Yixin,
While conversations may vary based on each unique dialog flow, what is clear is it’s a success as users often responding to Xiaoice (often referred to as “her”) with, “I love you.”
While not exactly clearing the Turing Test for AI conversation, as Xiaoice’s users clearly know the chatbot is not a human, it doesn’t matter. The level of empathy expressed across its dialog flow is clearly resonating with humans. In the process, it may just offer us a glimpse at the future of A.I. assistants.
With results like this, for commerce or connection, they could be the ones we end up turning to for engagement.