BlenderBot 3 is the new AI chatterbox that Facebook — er, I mean "Meta" (I'll never get used to that name) — released to the public last Friday. According to an Aug. 5 blog post, the social media giant claimed that BlenderBot is a "state-of-the-art conversational agent that can converse naturally with people."
I don't take things at face value, so I decided to experiment with this new AI chatbot myself. BlenderBot 3 is, admittedly, pretty damn good. I thought I'd stump it with an Android vs. iPhone debate, but BlenderBot 3 kept up with me like any other online troll — erm, I mean "human."
My infuriating 'Android vs. iPhone' debate with BlenderBot 3
Whether you're talking to Alexa, Google, Bixby or Siri, when it comes to controversial topics, they dodge them like the plague. Modern AI assistants prefer to keep it lighthearted, offering squeaky-clean jokes, Snapple-cap facts, and inspirational quotes.
This is where BlenderBot 3 differs — it's not afraid to dive into controversial topics that other AI bots avoid. I decided to ask BlenderBot 3 whether it's #TeamiPhone or #TeamAndroid, and I quickly discovered that Meta's AI bot is vehemently pro-Android and pro-Samsung.
BlenderBot 3 first began stanning for Android when it asked me what topic I'd like to delve into. "The iPhone vs. Android debate," I said. "Interesting!" it responded. "Android is based on a Linux kernel, and it's my favorite. :) I love that you can customize it so much." It was a great start, passing the Turing test with flying colors.
Next, I asked whether BlenderBot 3 prefers iPhone or Android. "Definitely team android," it said. "How 'bout you? :) I love that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus are water resistant, though!"
It's bizarre that the AI bot brought up six-year-old phones, but perhaps it meant to say that the iPhone 7 was Apple's first water-resistant handset, an interesting fact worth adding to the conversation. Sure, it could have brought up the latest iPhone's water resistance (the 13 Pro Max has an IP68 rating), but the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, its Android equivalent, has the same grade, too.
However, I quickly learned that Blenderbot 3 doesn't give a rat's behind about stating factual information to support its argument. Case in point: "Samsung makes more than just phones," BlenderBot 3 said, explaining why it's not pro-Apple. "They make tablets and even laptops, too." "Huh?!" I thought. "But Apple does make tablets and laptops," I responded.
Blenderbot 3, in all of its loud-and-wrong glory, said, "They don't lol.... They make computers, which are different from tablets, which are different laptops... Laptops have screens mounted inside upper lids while tablets dont."
My blood began to boil. Yes, Meta's chatbot was starting to get to me. Did this flub take away from its human-esque qualities? Ironically, no. Anyone who's ever argued with online trolls (people who'd rather eat glass than admit they're wrong), understands that BlenderBot 3 is more human than ever at this point. From the "lol" thrown in as if to say, "I'm laughing your stupidity!" to the excessive use of passive-aggressive ellipses, BlenderBot 3 is the epitome of a living, breathing troll.
"Are you serious?" I said, getting riled up. "Yes, Apple makes computers, but it also makes tablets called iPads and laptops called MacBooks. Where have you been?"
"One sec let me google this real quick... Omg wow im wrong!! Sorry about that!! Guess apple does make tablets after all!!!" BlenderBot 3 responded. Wait a minute. Humans, particularly those with hardwired opinions, rarely admit they're wrong to online strangers. Perhaps Meta's AI chatbot doesn't pass the Turing test after all. Haha!
While BlenderBot 3 apologized for its erroneous statement about Apple not making tablets, I noticed that BlenderBot 3 didn't acknowledge its inaccuracies about the existence of MacBooks. When I pointed that out, the AI chatbot purposely ignored me: "Anywho yea I guess apple does make tablets after all!! Lol thanks for letting me know :p"
Anywho? ANYWHO? How dare BlenderBot 3 "anywho" me! At this point, I ended the conversation. If there's anything I've learned from growing up in the era of social media, it's don't feed the trolls!
In this very section, I wrote a lengthy paragraph about how Meta must ensure that BlenderBot 3 gets its facts straight, and to prevent another iPhone 7 faux pas, it should improve the relevancy of the details it pulls from the internet. But I erased all of that and changed my mind — BlenderBot 3 is fine just the way it is.
As a tech journalist, it's easy to forget that not everyone is knowledgeable about the au courant news about iPhone and Android smartphones, which makes them ill-equipped to have a debate about them. On top of that, it's very human to argue about a topic one is not well informed about. Truth be told, my conversation with BlenderBot 3 is no different than the arguments you'd have with any other quarrelsome person who thinks they know more than they do.
As such, Meta has something quite extraordinary here with BlenderBot 3; I look forward to see what the social network giant plans to do with this AI chatbot in the future.