While many expect chat bots to become a huge part of our AI-dominated future, they have been rather underwhelming so far. Behind almost any online bot are drop-down menus, slightly tweaked to appear as questions.

This makes the whole experience way too robotic. In order to reach new heights, chatbots need new skills. They need to get cognitive abilities to reason with people. And these abilities might not be as far as you think.

Facebook has been a major player in this field for a long time. They already launched their chatbot assistant, simply known as M. Yes, it’s true that it’s still humans who do all the difficult tasks, but it’s a step in the right direction. Facebook also created an open-source tool, designed to teach bots.

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Yesterday, the social media giant’s researchers from the FAIR lab showed a new way of training chatbots to be better negotiators. The scope is pretty narrow so far. It concentrates only on one negotiation scenario, but it could pave the way for more capable bots in the future.

The testing results were quite interesting. First, people often mistakenly thought they were talking to humans. Bots also managed to develop complicated negotiation strategies, similar to game theories like the prisoner’s dilemma. The AI reached this impressive level without any help from humans.

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