Chat bots are becoming increasingly more complex with the ability to actually hold down a real(ish) conversation. Microsoft has been previewing some of their advanced AI (not the now failed Tay project) through Skype, but it has previously only been available to users of Windows, Android or even iOS. The desktop (and larger mobile) Apple crowd had been left out. That's changed, just in case you'd rather not talk to humans.
The Mac client now natively supports talking to the bots, as does the web client, of course. Bot integration is now available because sometimes talking to real humans can be a pain in the tuckus. Though this isn't an example of advanced interaction, you're able to try speaking to six different bots that are in a beta state. These six bots are able to spit out basic information to queries you make. You can ask for the latest news, weather, and other things like that. They even understand natural language, so you shouldn't have to modify how you ask questions to get the proper response.
Now, to actually make them available you'll have to take a number of steps. On your Mac in the Skype app, navigate to Contacts, then select Add Bot. Easy enough really. In the web client, all you have to do is click on the Discover Bot on the left-hand side. Then you'll be able to interact with relatively intelligent assistants, which is what it amounts to at the moment.
The services they provide are elementary at best, but these can grow as we're able to create more sophisticated AI programs. Even understanding natural language input is a feat unto itself. As AI can become more sophisticated, we might see actual chatbots that can respond naturally to what we input as well. Maybe one day, but we'll have to wait so that the Internet doesn't make it into an anti-Semitic console hater.
Facebook Live is being expanded in a big way starting today, with all kinds of new features and functionality.
A big one is support for Groups and Events: now you can stream live to select people, for a select event, or make the stream the event. Facebook imagines a few specific scenarios: streaming live from a birthday party for someone those that can't make it, taking fans who RSVP "backstage", or scheduling a Q&A session.
Posted by Facebook on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Other exciting features include invites (which allow you to watch live streams together with a friend) and discovery options (including a map that shows you broadcasts from all over the world), to name a couple.
Expect the changes to roll out on iOS and Android over the coming weeks.
Continuing his tradition of being the most progressive Pope in recent memory (and maybe ever?), Pope Francis will join Instagram this weekend (Saturday, March 19, specifically). His handle: Franciscus, the Prefect for Communications, Msgr Dario Viganò. Beat that.
Pope Francis joined Twitter in 2012, although has elected to avoid Facebook. The Archbishop in charge of social media for the Vatican, Claudio Maria Celli, stated this is because there is too much opportunity on Facebook for publicly viewable abuse.
Apple owners should be pleased to know the company has started a support account on Twitter, allowing you to get help easily and quickly. Although Apple already offers chat support, Twitter support is likely the more comfortable route when you're on mobile.
The account -- @AppleSupport -- has garnered nearly 70,000 followers as of press time.
The new account might make you wonder if Apple will finally take up a unifying @Apple account (currently it's being squatted, likely in hopes Apple will one day purchase it for a hefty sum), instead opting for the frustrating dissemination approach with various accounts for various services. We've put in an inquiry with the company and will update this story should we hear back.
You've probably already seen the upgraded like button array already, likely due to being on Facebook at this very moment. But if you haven't had a chance, it seems that Facebook is adding a bit more to their Like button, letting users pick from five other emotes to express how they feel about a particular post, and they're calling them "Reactions".
Liking a post has been a way to acknowledge a post, interacting with it in a one-dimensional way that sometimes can be misinterpreted to mean something it doesn't. Do I "Like" the death of a friends grandmother? Well, now you can choose an emote to indicate how that post makes you feel. So it just got a bit less awkward.
The search for a better way to communicate actually was a long road by the team behind the new Reactions. The team, led by Sammi Krug, did a lot of research into how people tend to communicate, with stickers and with words, to determine the best mix of reactions to add. "People come to Facebook and share all kinds of things," Krug said. "And we kept hearing feedback from people that there wasn't an easy way to express empathy for these different kinds of posts."
While Kanye West has been on a rampant Twitter tirade surrounding his 'Life of Pablo' album release, even social media accounts from The Land Down Under have gotten in on the action.
Virgin Australia's official Twitter account told Kanye West to "EAD" recently, further labelling him as a "douche" and embodying the common insult of many Aussie Generation X or Y youths.
While this tweet did come from the official and verified Virgin Australia account, it was soon after deleted with the company releasing a statement that "A recent tweet on our account was not published by a Virgin Australia employee and we are investigating the matter."
In a new blog post, Twitter has revealed that it has shut down over 125,000 user accounts since mid-2015 for promoting terrorism, particularly terrorism related to ISIS. The company reminds that while it values free speech, terrorist threats and any violent threats for that matter are forbidden on its service.
"Like most people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups," it writes. "We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service."
Facebook is reportedly deleting the pages of medical marijuana dispensaries, according to NJ.com, with three New Jersey-based ones being removed, as well as others across the United States.
Why is Facebook deleting these pages? Well, they're violating the social network's terms of service, with Facebook leaving a note behind when it removed the pages: "We remove any promotion or encouragement of drug use. Your page is currently not visible on Facebook. It looks like content on your page does not follow the Facebook Community Terms and Standards".
New Jersey law "law strictly regulates what information can and cannot be displayed on a dispensary's website, which has led many of the organizations to use Facebook as a supplemental information source", reports Engadget. Strain names can't be listed on a New Jersey-based dispensary site for example, with Facebook's move on removing the pages leaving patients pissed off, and rightly so.
The Australian Government has hired some third-party agencies in order to scour social media and track down Aussies gathering welfare donations illegally.
Boasting a current $1.43 million US ($2m AU) haul, the department responsible for processing welfare in the Land Down Under, Centrelink, further commented that $1.21 million US ($1.7m AU) has been discovered by them monitoring eBay accounts of welfare recipients not claiming this form of sale as income. Some of the offenders are said to have made the mistake of posting "Thank God it's Friday" on their Facebook, explaining that they were relieved the working week was over while receiving unemployment benefits at the same time.
Stuart Robert, the Minister for Humans Services, stated that this research resulted in "3,072 compliance reviews, 1,888 cases of overpayment and five arrests on warrants for failing to attend court for welfare fraud offences" as reported by the Canberra Times.
The Fine Brothers Entertainment company has seen a lot of internet hate recently, attempting to fully copyright 'reaction videos' and telling members of the YouTube community that partnering with (and paying them) for this type of content is beneficial for all.
In response to this announcement was a 'reaction to the Fine Bros React' by satirical comedians Mega64, releasing a video depicting its plans to react videos made outside.
Giving a shoutout to 'money', this comedy trio explains that the new trademark is made purely to be beneficial to the wider social networking community, sacrificing themselves for the greater good.