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Project Murphy: a bot that answers ‘what if’ questions

2016 has truly been a year for bots, as AI and machine learning combine to do some astounding things. Now, Microsoft has revealed a new bot, dubbed Project Murphy.

The purpose of the bot though? Well, it’s akin to Futurama‘s “what if” machine, coming up with imaginative image-based answers to your hypothetical “what if” question.

For instance, asking “what if Donald Trump wore a dress?” yielded this result.

Project Murphy Microsoft bot

You can even ask questions like “what if Barack Obama was Bernie Sanders?”, with the bot spitting out a relevant image.

Project Murphy

Like what you see? Then you can reply with a smiley face to get more images, or a sad face to express displeasure.

Unfortunately, the bot isn’t quite familiar with many prominent South Africans just yet. But the nature of machine learning means that there’s every possibility that it better acquaints itself with Julius Malema, Jacob Zuma and others.

Microsoft’s Project Murphy is far from perfect, but it’s a rather interesting and offbeat bot nonetheless

It’s also a tad unpolished at this point, taking its time to answer questions, occasionally giving arbitrary answers or repeating its introduction several times. But otherwise, it makes for an entertaining distraction so far.

What kind of technology powers the bot then?

“Murphy was created as an experimental project to showcase new technologies from Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite – mainly Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, including Bing Image Search and the Microsoft Bot Framework. It also uses other existing Microsoft technology like Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Data Lake and PowerBI,” read an excerpt from the Murphy website.

Try Project Murphy on Facebook Messenger by clicking here.

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings almost seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More