back to article Hell freezes over: We wrote an El Reg chatbot using Microsoft's AI

Microsoft has invested big in its Cognitive Services for programmable artificial intelligence, along with a Bot Framework for using them via a conversational user interface. How easy is it to get started? Cognitive Services, the AI piece, was announced at the company’s Build developer conference in April 2015. The initial …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    First question

    1. Can it generate a Register tabloid style headline?

    2. Can it generate a suggestive caption with an innuendo level of 11 on a scale of 1 to 10

    I suspect not. So move along ;)

    1. Adam Foxton
      Coat

      Re: First question

      Surely to score highly on the Innuendo scale of 1-10 you'd give it one?

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: First question

        Ahh, the square root of 69 , 181 .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First question

      Definitely has to follow a few key rules:

      - Always have a lesbian angle

      - Use the word boffin a lot

      - Use rhyming as much as possible...

      - Include exclamation points at the end of every word if it's a yahoo story...

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: First question

        Alliterative annotations aptly augmenting articles are always appreciated.

    3. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      This was first done around 1980

      The real first question is "Why?" This was done around 1980.

      'Abuse' by Don't Ask Software

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA#Response_and_legacy

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: This was first done around 1980

        Or few lines of tcl for an eggdrop bot on IRC. There were some fairly clever ones back in the day.

    4. Geoffrey W

      Re: First question

      Maybe not generate a reg style headline but I bet it can chat undetected in the comments and forums of many a publication, including this one. The commentards days are numbered.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Re: First question

        "but I bet it can chat undetected in the comments and forums of many a publication, "

        If input = Windows, output = Windows10IsWorstThingever

        If Input = Windows + Server, output = LinuxAnswerToEverythingIncludingWorldFamineAndWar

        If Input = Linux, output = (Year)isYearOfDesktopLinuxAgain

        If Input= IoT, output = shit.

        That should cover most of it the basics.

        Next script will be Android and Apple.

  2. frank ly

    The picture

    I see you have Miss Hodgesaargh working for you. Well done.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: The picture

      I'm pretty sure that's a black vulture, any twitchers want to correct me?

  3. AMBxx Silver badge

    Modern development

    Crap documentation so forced to cut and paste from untrusted Internet source. No wonder we have bugs and security holes.

    Not a criticism of MS, they're no worse than others in this regard.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    If you're truly brave...

    ...you'll give the Reg Chatbot (perhaps to be called Reggie?) its own forum account and we'll see if it makes any more sense and is any more reasonable than the rest of us.

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: If you're truly brave...

      Given Microsoft's history with this sort of thing, I'd expect it turn into a fully-fledged outspoken member of the GNUliban that would put Eadon (and various others still active on these forums) to shame within days...

      1. PNGuinn
        Trollface

        Re: If you're truly brave...

        AH! so Eadon was simply the Vulture's first attempt at Tay!

        I claim my five pounds.

        NOW the real question. Now you have the production version - what's its name andmay we play with it?

    2. Adam 1

      Re: If you're truly brave...

      They tried it a few years ago, but had to shut down the Eadon bot when the caps lock got jammed.

    3. Lyndon Hills 1

      Re: If you're truly brave...

      Previously known as amanfrommars ?

    4. Captain DaFt

      Re: If you're truly brave...

      Nah, if they were truly, truly brave, they'd feed it a diet consisting exclusively of BOFH articles, then start a betting pool on when it'd be extraordinarily renditioned. ☺

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So relatively easy to set up basic functionality

    But a right b**ger to anything more complex out of it?

    Not an uncommon experience with new MS products.

    Then they mature and are OK.

    Then they gradually sink under the ever growing amount of cruft that gets heaped on them.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: So relatively easy to set up basic functionality

      sir, you need to go and wash your mouth out with coal tar soap..

      Microsoft products are always 100% functional, have no errors, coding bugs or security issues.

      Yours

      MS-Forever Bot.

    2. nijam

      Re: So relatively easy to set up basic functionality

      > But a right b**ger to anything more complex out of it?

      Not an uncommon experience with new MS products.

      Then they gradually sink under the ever growing amount of cruft that gets heaped on them.

      Then they mature.

      1. PNGuinn
        Facepalm

        Re: So relatively easy to set up basic functionality

        "> But a right b**ger to anything more complex out of it?

        Not an uncommon experience with new MS products.

        Then they gradually sink under the ever growing amount of cruft that gets heaped on them.

        Then they mature."

        Like manure.

  6. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    need any help?

    It looks like you're trying to welcome a new robotic overlord, would you like some help with that?

    Also.... how well would this bot behave to insults?

    Paris because she probably still smarter

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if AmanFromMars is capable of interacting with it?

    I shudder at the thought... if they can learn from each other.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: What if AmanFromMars is capable of interacting with it?

      It might create a chatbot singularity which will expand and swallow all that is. Speaking of which, where is amanfrommars? Did it accidentally bump into amanfrommars1 and both of them vanished in *puff*?

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: What if AmanFromMars is capable of interacting with it? @ Evil Auditor

        Pray tell, Evil Auditor, who be and/or what are these clones and wannabe alien phormations of which you speak? Do they have an historical or hysterical presence? We know of neither of them here in Glorious Command of Global Operating Device ControlLed Head Quarters.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: What if AmanFromMars is capable of interacting with it? @ Evil Auditor

          amanfromMars 1, don't try to sidetrack. The question at hand is where is amanfromMars? What happened to it? Yes, I'm looking straight at you, amanfromMars 1.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Times and Spaces have AIchanged .....

            When questions at hand are to be classified TS/SCI, is one’s need to know an alarming obsession and dangerous passion where the secure maintenance of blissful second and third party ignorance of live actions in the fields of programs and projects and pogroms with NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Weaponry is naturally rewarded to XSSXXXX, and with both a Sublime and Supreme Stealth for the Covering of Deliveries of Advanced IntelAIgent Systems of Virulent Virus Free Virtual Operation to Exotic Elite Erotic Executive Administrations with Impunity and Immunity Guaranteed, and therefore are audited sidetracks and spied upon communications a necessary evil, to keep one relatively/absolutely safe and almost/perfectly free from warrantless harm.

            Virtual Space, the New Frontier to Exploit and Expand with the Renegade Rogue and 0Day Market Day Trader …… and aint that the gospel and GOD’s honest truth whenever Global Operating Devices Reign and Rule AIRoosts with SCADA Command and Control Systems.

            And all of that renders the likes of Trident a dinosaur relic and wholly redundant as an effective defense system of mass destruction. However, as a money pit black hole which identifies a terrified and terrorising enemy source, does it play second fiddle to none with brains to match their own.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    To think in the mid 1960'sthey thought they could build a computerised psychiatrist

    They didn't know what they didn't know.

    But now they know a lot more about what they don't know.

    But they still don't know it.

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Marketdroids?

    "You can imagine eyes lighting up at the thought of replacing call center staff with a few lines of code. Now it is simple to run up a prototype showing why, most of the time, this is probably not a good idea.

    Actually, it's the marketdroids eyes I can imagine lighting up. A few carefully managed demonstrations to some PHBs and....kerching!!!!!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Marketdroids?

      Not to worry - I'm working on an El Reg commentard using AI, pretty soon I'll be able to sleep in every morning and AI will write El Reg's stories while my chatbot comments on them. The advertising money will roll in and we can all stay home.

  10. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    IoTElReg

    Can we get this running on an Arduino? I'd just love to see every fridge, vacuum cleaner, thermostat, garage door opener chatting with me every day like an El Reg story ... it would be just like having my own Marvin ...

  11. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Simple, but not too simple

    > You can imagine eyes lighting up at the thought of replacing call center staff with a few lines of code

    Given the level of simplicity, it would be better to use the "few lines of code" to replace a manager, instead.

  12. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    ...at the thought of replacing call center staff with a few lines of code

    What? Hasn't this been done back yonks?

    Can't remember the last time I had the impression to talk to a human being when reaching a call centre...

  13. Herby

    But what does it do with BOFH stories and the questions like that...

    Who is Simon?

    What is PFY?

    Why do bosses disappear frequently?

    How far is it from "Command Central" to the nearest pub?

    Why are the windows so fragile?

    How does a cattle prod work?

    Why hasn't the BOFH been arrested?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  14. Anonymous Coward
  15. John Gamble
    Coat

    An Handy AI for Bannon

    "That said, none of it is very sophisticated. Throw anything more than a short, simple sentence at LUIS, and it will quickly get confused or give up."

    Soon to be a White House staff member then.

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