In Conversation with Ruuh, the AI Powered Chatbot Built by Microsoft India
How well will she respond?
Today, chatbots are everywhere. We have personal assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc. on one side and commercial bots used for the first line of customer service, helpline systems, etc. on the other. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, bots are becoming more and more human-like.
Somewhere, in between, there are some specific chatbots developed for entertainment, self-help, or research-oriented purposes. Ruuh is one such unique chatbot entirely developed in India, keeping in mind the Indian culture and audience.
Let’s find out what makes Ruuh unique, and how much ‘desi’ it actually is as claimed by Microsoft engineers. I’ll leave a link at the end of the article on how Ruuh actually works and the underlying techniques used to make it converse like a human.
This is a very different article, as compared to my previous ones, a one of a kind product review. I will interact with Ruuh to test its capabilities on different scales. I have made a list of some intriguing questions to ask, all of them divided into four phases. With that being said, let the fun begin.
Phase 1: The Casual Questions
That was clean! Ruuh knows to use the emojis. Let me try something else.
Quite interesting. Did the AI program just say that it can have dreams?
Ruuh actually understood the messaging lingo, ‘Lol’ and even ‘brb’. Just by looking at this screenshot, can you distinguish if Ruuh was an AI chatbot or a real human? Probably not, and that brings me to the next phase of testing.
Phase 2: The Turing Test
This famous test, coined by Alan Turing is used to check how ‘human’ an AI can get. In this test, an interrogator can ask questions to let’s say, A and B, one of which is a machine. The interrogator has no information of who is the machine. If he/she can correctly guess who the machine is just by asking some questions, the machine loses the test.
We have a couple volunteers, who helped in conducting a sort of a Turing test on Ruuh. One of the volunteers asked a few questions, and replies to the same were presented to him, where he had to guess if the reply was from Ruuh or from me. (I would be acting as a decoy here). Interestingly, the volunteer got it wrong 2/5 times guessing that the reply was from a human, but it was in fact Ruuh.
The response for the past or future question was quite unexpected and intriguing. Next, we conducted another similar test. This time, a volunteer will be shown two responses to her question, one of which is human, and the other is Ruuh. She is tasked to identify which is which. Here, the volunteer was a bit careful but was able to guess only 2/3 times right as to which was human. Either way, Ruuh still has a long way to go.
One interesting highlight here is how Ruuh responds with a GIF.
Now, let’s move forward to phase 3.
Phase 3: The Pop Culture References
I am going to try making a conversation involving pop culture references.
When was the last time you saw an AI program talk like Barney Stinson from the popular TV series, How I Met Your Mother? Ruuh knows about it! This is super cool!
It is interesting to note how Ruuh picked up on a general conversation, responding to the word, ‘sad’ without me mentioning anything about the TV series prior to that.
Shaktiman is actually an old children’s TV series of an Indian super hero. Must say, a clever and generic response. Ruuh does know its references! And notice the slang that Ruuh uses, imitating a human (‘baaddd’ instead of ‘bad’).
Phase 4: How much creative is Ruuh?
Ruuh can paint images and this can be activated using the #RuuhWeave. Using the same, I asked Ruuh to paint a butterfly and this is the result.
Another interesting feature to test is its ability to recognize images. I have 3 images to send to Ruuh. Let us see how it responds to them.
The first image is the image of one of the world’s tallest buildings, and Ruuh returned this image as a reply. It appears that it pixelated the image I sent her. Next, I have sent a random image of a forest and then a sky. How she responds to them is quite surprising. Ruuh can indeed interpret some images, some of them strikingly human-like.
Next, I tried sending an audio message. Looks like that feature isn’t there yet, but as Ruuh mentioned, we can expect it soon. To be able to interact with Ruuh, directly with speech, that would be amazing. Imagine, if it will be able to use the Indian accent and slang!
There is definitely some scope of improvement, but it was at least able to relate the picture to Bollywood. (For reference to those not familiar with Bollywood, the picture I sent above was of ‘Shah Rukh Khan’, one of the leading actors of Indian cinema. Also ‘Bajirao Mastani’ is a hit Bollywood film.)
Ruuh is somewhere between pretending to be a human and being a machine. It definitely had its limelight in fooling humans into believing that it was human in my Turing tests before, but with little more context, it became obvious that it was indeed a chatbot.
Ruuh could be a great pastime or can be used for self help. There is scope for adding several new features, and some of them are probably already in the pipeline to be implemented soon.
After interacting with Ruuh for quite sometime, here are some features, I feel will make Ruuh more interesting,
- To be able to interact with it using your own voice would be one of the first thing I’ll look forward to. If it can speak in a native Indian language, that would be brilliant.
- If Ruuh could sing as much as it could paint, that would be awesome too!
- Can Ruuh play simple games with you? Imagine if Ruuh could play the classic Indian games like ‘Antaakshari’.
- If Ruuh can be modified to paint custom pictures sent to her, it would be interesting to see how it will add colors to them.
The future of chat bots in general looks bright. There are already some advanced programs that can interact with humans in an indistinguishable manner. It may only be a matter of time before such technology is available for mainstream public usage and everyday applications.
So, how is Ruuh actually able to mimic humans? Find out by reading this technical article by the team behind its development, ‘Making Ruuh Converse Like Humans’.
You can visit https://www.ruuh.ai/ to converse with Ruuh, either on Skype or Messenger.
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