"You give it data, a huge amount of data," Sidner said. "Remember that the computer... is taking those huge amounts of data and building a model that says, 'If you see this, use this as a response.' It doesn't really know what the words mean. It's about correlations between one set of words and another set of words."
If the responses seem rather curt or snarky, it's because those are the terminologies the computer picked up from the data sets.
Aside from the question of whether Google's artificial intelligence had developed to the point to be agitated and snarky, Sidner said Google's research shows promise, especially for tasks on a help desk that would involved asking and answering a series of questions.
Black added that using big data for machine learning is an interesting research tactic.
"Most dialogue stuff that's been around has been more hand constructed," he said. "They decide that if people say, 'I want X', then they have a template for whatever is requested... Using big data, though, is a very Google thing to do since they have a lot of data."
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