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Facebook has released what it claims to be the largest-ever open-source chatbot created to date. Dubbed Blender, the chatbot is the culmination of years of research in conversational AI and includes empathy, knowledge, and personality — together in one system, Facebook said.

Facebook AI has built and open-sourced Blender, which is said to outperform others in terms of engagement and also “feels more human”, according to human evaluators.

To create Blender, Facebook made use of a new chatbot recipe that includes improved decoding techniques, novel blending of skills, and a model with 9.4 billion parameters, which is 3.6x more than the largest existing system.

To evaluate Blender, Facebook said it benchmarked its performance against Google’s latest Meena chatbot through pairwise human evaluations.

When presented with chats showing Meena in action and chats showing Blender in action, 67 percent of the evaluators reportedly said that Facebook’s model sounds more human.

Facebook has released the complete model, code, and evaluation set-up, so that other AI researchers may reproduce this work and continue to advance conversational AI research.

“This is the first time a chatbot has learned to blend several conversational skills — including the ability to assume a persona, discuss nearly any topic, and show empathy — in natural, 14-turn conversation flows,” according to an official blog post.

Blender, the open-domain chatbot, is now publicly available through Facebook’s dialogue research platform ParlAI.


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