Initially, a simple user interface facilitated conversations between one human and one bot – conversations about negotiating the sharing out of a pool of resources (books, hats and balls).

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Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me Bob: i .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to Bob: you i i i i i everything else .

One example is this: Bob: I can i i everything else Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to Bob: you i everything else Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to meca A little trepidation around having two bots (backed by neural networks) talk to each other like this is perhaps understandable, but it's important to understand that they were only really doing what they were told, and the implications are far less sinister than some more hysterical corners of the media would have you believe.

As a software engineer, I have found it quite amusing to sit back and watch the droves of articles predicting an oncoming robotic revolution – I'm afraid the whole The thing about Bob and Alice is that, despite their friendly names, they were only given one job to do: specifically, to negotiate.

It's all very well having bots that can negotiate efficiently with each other, but maybe we're not quite ready for them to be better at it than we are.

A humanoid robot named Han developed by Hanson Robotics reacts as the controller commands it via a mobile phone to make a facial expression during the Global Sources spring electronics show in Hong Kong April 18, 2015 Facebook abandoned an experiment after two artificially intelligent programs appeared to be chatting to each other in a strange language only they understood.

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to Bob: you i everything else .

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me Bob: i i can i i i everything else .

The two chatbots came to create their own changes to English that made it easier for them to work – but which remained mysterious to the humans that supposedly look after them.