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Programming TechChatbots

Programming Tech

A chatbot (originally chatterbot) is a software application or web interface that is designed to mimic human conversation through text or voice interactions. Modern chatbots are typically online and use generative artificial intelligence systems that are capable of maintaining a conversation with a user in natural language and simulating the way a human would behave as a conversational partner. Such chatbots often use deep learning and natural language processing, but simpler chatbots have existed for decades. Since late 2022, the field has gained widespread attention due to the popularity of OpenAI's ChatGPT, followed by alternatives such as Microsoft's Copilot and Google's Gemini. Such examples reflect the recent practice of basing such products upon broad foundational large language models, such as GPT-4 or the Gemini language model, that get fine-tuned so as to target specific tasks or applications (i.e., simulating human conversation, in the case of chatbots). Chatbots can also be designed or customized to further target even more specific situations and/or particular subject-matter domains. A major area where chatbots have long been used is in customer service and support, with various sorts of virtual assistants. Companies spanning a wide range of industries have begun using the latest generative artificial intelligence technologies to power more advanced developments in such areas. As chatbots work by predicting responses rather than knowing the meaning of their responses, this means they can produce coherent-sounding but inaccurate or fabricated content, referred to as ‘hallucinations’. When humans use and apply chatbot content contaminated with hallucinations, this results in ‘botshit’. Given the increasing adoption and use of chatbots for generating content, there are concerns that this technology will significantly reduce the cost it takes humans to generate, spread and consume bullshit.

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