#456 April 18, 2016 – Meet any Interesting Bots Lately?

This week’s headline story: Meet any Interesting Bots Lately?

Facebook-RobotFacebook has unveiled a new Messenger Platform that enables businesses to develop and promote bots that can provide automated help to online customers. Using a bot businesses can satisfy a number of customer needs ranging from shopping for shoes to rescheduling flight times to avoid missed connections.

Shopify announced that it has agreed to purchase Kit CRM, whose Kit chatbot automatically sends out marketing text messages for online stores. It also lets businesses run targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, make recommendations based on store activities, post on social media and use functionality provided by other social media apps.

More and more companies are introducing chatbots. In addition to Facebook and Shopify, Microsoft introduced the Murphy chatbot for Skype on iOS, Android and Windows in late March. Unfortunately, Murphy had to be sent back to chatbot school after “learning” from Twitter trolls how to spout racist and other offensive comments.

Still “Chatbots look like the new spaghetti being thrown at a wall to see if it sticks,” observed Denis Pombriant, principal at Beagle Research. According to some tech analysts, soon you may be texting with robots as often as you do with your friends!


In other news:

  • A $2 Billion Chip to Accelerate Artificial Intelligence [MIT Technology Review]
    Nvidia has announced a new chip to put more power behind Artificial Intelligence. The chip called Tesla P100 cost more than $2 billion in R&D to produce, and promises to provide a great platform for deep learning. Deep learning is an area of AI that involves passing data through large collections of crudely simulated neurons. The P100 could help deliver more breakthroughs by making it possible for computer scientists to feed more data to their artificial neural networks or to create larger collections of virtual neurons.

in Information Security News…

  • FBI Paid Hackers to Defeat Security of Shooter’s iPhone [ecommerce times]
    According to a report published in The Washington Post, the FBI paid hackers to break onto the iPhone of the San Bernardino, California, shooter. The bureau obtained the services of gray hats, the Post said, citing unnamed sources. Gray hats are hackers who sell flaws to governments or companies that make surveillance tools.
  • Critical Flaws Alert: Better Uninstall QuickTime for Windows Now [Newsfactor]
    Two new vulnerabilities in Apple’s QuickTime for Windows are so critical that the federal government is urging users to uninstall the software on their PCs immediately. Apple has announced that it will no longer be supporting the multimedia player on the Windows platform at all, meaning the bugs may never be patched. The advisory does not apply to QuickTime for Mac’s OS X.
  • Microsoft Sues US DOJ Over Secret Requests for Customer Data [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice in order to gain the right to tell its customers when the government asks for their data. “Customers have a right to know when the government obtains warrants to read their emails,” a spokesperson for Microsoft stated. Over the past year-and-a-half, Microsoft said it has received thousands of legal demands for customer data from the federal government, and is prevented in many cases from ever informing customers about such requests.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Google’s Skunkworks Loses Its Leader to Facebook—and Has Yet to Produce Any Hits [MIT Technology Review]
    Regina Dugan is leaving her position as Head of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division and taking a position with Facebook. Google’s Project Ara modular phone was one of Dugan’s inventions. Previously Dugan led the Pentagon research agency DARPA. At Facebook she will lead a group working on new hardware resourced with “hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars,” says Mark Zucherberg.


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