Facebook AI Research (FAIR), Facebook’s AI and machine learning division, today detailed work on a comprehensive AI chatbot framework called Blender. FAIR claims that Blender, which is available in open source on GitHub, is the largest-ever open-domain chatbot and outperforms existing approaches to generating dialogue while “feel[ing] more human,” according to human evaluators.
FAIR says Blender is the culmination of years of research to combine empathy, knowledge, and personality into one system. To this end, the underlying models — which benefit from improved decoding and skill blending techniques — contain up to 9.4 billion parameters (configuration variables that define skill on a given problem), or 3.6 times more than previous systems.
Blender promises to make interactions with conversational AI systems like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana more natural than before, whether in enterprise, industrial, or consumer-facing contexts. That’s because they’re able to ask and answer a wide range of questions; display knowledge about specific topics; and express sentiments like empathy, seriousness, or playfulness as circumstances dictate.