‘Xiaotu’ is ‘little library’ in the Chinese language, and this unique computer bot is smart enough to learn as it communicates with humans through conversations. However, university authorities had to pull the plug on Xiaotu’s cyber services during the course of the winter break simply because there were too many folks who wanted to chat the robot up, talking about issues that had nothing to do with library services at all. The robot more or less suffered a ‘mental breakdown’ if you could say so, since it could not process the “unsuitable material”. Its designers have been working hard to increase its filterability and database since then.
According to a design group member, “It had been a long time anyway since we last cleared up its database, so we decided to suspend the service to do it … We have improved its abilities and I hope users can teach it useful information now.” Xiaotu’s primary job would be to answer questions concerning the library, search for the right book as well as self-learn in conversations. Hopefully future users will behave and not try to ‘silence’ it by going off tangent in a conversation.
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