MENLO PARK, Calif. - Facebook researchers are training AI chatbots to mimic real-life human interactions. And they're doing it with the help of thousands of human-to-human conversations about furniture.
 
For example, let's say a customer hoping to buy furniture speaks in an online chat box with a human that works for a furniture company. That customer will say things like "I wish to buy some chairs" and usually ask for more information, like price, materials, etc. The furniture employee will try to find the products best suited for the customer's individual needs.
 
Using 13,000 of these dialogs across both the furniture and fashion domains, Facebook is working on automated chatbots to do this job instead. The technology is called Situated Interactive MultiModal Conversations (SIMMC), and it is as techy as it sounds.
 
The social media giant's hope is that the bot will be able to respond seamlessly, and in just a way a human would.
 
Let's say the same customer looking for chairs wants to see brown options and wants to know more about the materials they're made of. The bot assistant could reply with an image of the company's brown chairs with the text "How do you like these? They have a solid brown color with a foam fitting."
 

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