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Will Google release a chatbot in 2016?

Author, inventor, and computer scientist Ray Kurzweil is known as a public advocate for the Singularity, predicting that within decades, artificial intelligence will surpass that of human beings. In 2012, Kurzweil was hired as Google’s Director of Engineering, with a focus on projects involving machine learning and natural language processing.

At a May 2016 conference held by Singularity University, Kurzweil announced that his Google team is working on a chatbot to be released later this year. One of the bots will be named Danielle, after the titular character of Kurzweil’s yet-to-be-released novel. Kurzweil described a chatbot that, given substantial writing samples from a unique user, could be personalized to adopt the writer’s “style, personality, and ideas”. The anticipated bots will be able to hold conversations that are “interesting,” though not yet near the sophistication of human-to-human communication.

The story broke via a video from the conference posted on technology and culture website theverge.com. The video has since been removed due to copyright restrictions by Singularity University; no official announcement of Kurzweil's project has been made by Google.

Kurzweil’s announcement comes at a time of chatbot development among tech giants. The CEO of Microsoft recently declared that chatbots will revolutionize computing, although Microsoft suffered an embarrassing setback in March when its Twitter chatbot had to be disabled in less than a day after learning hate speech from users. Facebook’s Messenger app features over 11,000 chatbots for users to converse with. Earlier this year, Google itself released a new smart messaging app, Allo, that learns a user’s texting style in order to provide intelligent suggestions for conversations with other humans.

Will Kurzweil’s Google team release Danielle or another chatbot by the end of 2016?

For a positive resolution there must be by Dec. 31, 2016 a publicly accessible chatbot (potentially with signup or even fees but open in principle to anyone) released by Google or another child company of Alphabet, Inc. Release notes or credible media report must indicate a connection between this chatbot and the program run by Kuzweil at Google.

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