Microsoft’s newest chatbot Murphy has quite the imagination. For those of us who have ever wondered: “What if Marilyn Monroe had a really long beard?” or “What if Kylo Ren was a muppet?,” Murphy has all the answers.
Built off the same A.I. platform that underlay Microsoft’s popular “HowOldRobot” that guessed users’ ages, Murphy uses machine learning to understand and respond to image-based “what if” questions. Curious what you would look like on the red carpet or chilling with the rat pack? Just ask away and hope your friends don’t notice the middle school-level Photoshopping.
Microsoft has been pushing hard throughout 2016 for a breakthrough chatbot and has encountered some stumbles along the way. The company quickly disabled its Tay chatbot after it said some pretty terrible things following its public debut in March. Murphy takes a more cautious approach to dialogue online and only deals in images, though that doesn’t mean it won’t ever get a little weird.
Luckily, Microsoft seems to be learning from its past errors and has included a method for changing the face or background image in Murphy’s image responses. Murphy also accepts reports that images are offensive, which will hopefully limit the number of other all-star basketball players who get placed in a Volkswagen along with literally Adolf Hitler.
Murphy will currently speak with you over Skype, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and Kik — with Slack to come. It’s a pretty entertaining return to the chatbot game that may redeem Microsoft after the Tay debacle. That is, unless someone online discovers Murphy has an agenda of its own.