Microsoft quietly introduces Zo, its latest chatbot, on Kik Messenger

Laurent Giret

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Earlier this year, Microsoft leveraged its artificial intelligence magic to release Tay, a cross-platform chatbot aimed at 18-24 years old but the experiment didn’t go very well, to say the least. Just one day after its introduction, Microsoft had to turn off the AI chatbot and apologize after discovering that some users had tricked Tay to produce offensive and racist tweets.

This PR failure didn’t really discouraged Microsoft, as CEO Satya Nadella reportedly emailed the Tay team to encourage them to “keep pushing” after the chat bot was taken down. But while Tay has now been put to rest, a new Microsoft chatbot called Zo has just been discovered on Twitter, though details about it remain scarce for now (via Windows Central)

Interestingly, Microsoft chose to quietly release this new chat bot on Kik Messenger, avoiding Twitter as well as its own platforms such as Skype and GroupMe. In our limited testing, Tay seems to be another conversational bot targeted at young people and it seems pretty fun, though it remains to be seen if Microsoft did everything necessary to avoid another emergency takedown. chat bot

You can try chatting with Zo by looking into Kik Messenger’s bot directory, but Microsoft has also set up a dedicated page to let users request an invite to get early access to Zo (the form mentions Twitter, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat). We’ll see if Microsoft officially announces its new chatbot in the coming days.