BuzzFeed’s Botatouille Chatbot Puts A.I. Twist on Food Advice

BuzzFeed harnessed the rising power of social media to create a digital media business worth over $1 billion at its peak. But BuzzFeed’s ratings plummeted when the tech giants behind the social platform moved away from publishing.

To bounce back, BuzzFeed is once again turning to a new technology: artificial intelligence.

The company has experimented a lot since announcing plans to deploy AI a few months ago, and has embraced AI technology more aggressively than most publishers. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed introduced its most ambitious service yet, a free chatbot called Botatouille (unrelated to Pixar’s Mouse Chef). It offers recipe recommendations from BuzzFeed’s food brand Tasty.

Botatouille is built using the technology that powers OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT program, customized with Tasty recipes and user data.

Wet day? Botatouille is recommended for winter chili and lentil soup. feel lonely? At Botatouille, chocolate chip cookies and vegetable curry are recommended. Botatouille might also recommend Shepherd’s Pie, which he quipped was his mother’s recipe.

“The transition from the crumbling social wave to the growing wave of generative AI is an exciting transition for me,” said Jonah Peretti, CEO of the company. “And I think there are many things we can definitely learn to ensure we capture more lasting value from technology trends.”

BuzzFeed was one of the first media companies to experiment with artificial intelligence, but many other media companies are also exploring ways to adapt to artificial intelligence. Bloomberg, Insider and The New York Times executives are all weighing potential upside versus risks to existing businesses.

Potential pitfalls include losing traffic from search engines as AI-powered chatbots respond to search queries. Also, some companies using artificial intelligence in content creation already published An erroneous article.

Peretti closed BuzzFeed News last month, but in the future BuzzFeed plans to experiment with AI to power its news business, which is now organized under the HuffPost brand, Peretti said. Told.

Peretti said it could include using artificial intelligence to create search engine headlines or brainstorm ways to tell a particular story.

Botatouille uses the technology that powers OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT program, customized with Tasty recipes and user…Michelle Grosskop, The New York Times

But he said he doesn’t see a future where artificial intelligence will replace HuffPost journalists.

“Even if you were an evil CEO trying to replace all journalists with AI, you would fail miserably,” Peretti said. “It’s not going well on the business side.”

He said he’s applied some lessons from the unequal relationship between BuzzFeed and social media to his artificial intelligence experiments.

When BuzzFeed used social media to grow its audience, it didn’t always prioritize profitability. The company grew quickly, but then struggled. It’s now valued at nearly $90 million, a fraction of its 2016 peak of $1.7 billion. The BuzzFeed News shutdown affected dozens of jobs.

Peretti said the company is now focused on building a sustainable business from the start. BuzzFeed plans to sell subscriptions by using artificial intelligence to provide users with personalized services and custom interactions on services like Botatouille, he said.

“We are more focused on monetization than ever before, and we focused on monetization much earlier than we did then,” Peretti said.

One of the big questions for BuzzFeed is, does botatouille work?

Before attending a party on Sunday night, I asked the chatbot for her favorite batch cocktail recipes.

“Hey there! Looks like you’re ready to party!” Botatouille responded in his usual tone, adding a warning to drink in moderation. “My favorite is the Boozy Bubbly Sorbet Punch.” A fun, fruity drink perfect for parties. “

Botatouille then shared a recipe that consistently mixes vodka, champagne, and concentrated fruit juices, topped with rainbow sorbet.

Afterwards, I asked Botatouille to suggest meals for laid-off digital media workers. At first, I struggled to answer. It read, “Oops. Something went wrong.”

Then an idea came to me.

“Hmm, you look a little depressed. Can you recommend a meal to cheer me up?” “I encourage laid-off digital media employees to try his two-way preparation with chicken and vegetables in one pan.”

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