The Shanghai-based startup will face stiff competition from all directions, as China’s English education market is highly lucrative and fiercely competitive.
Currently, Rikai Labs’ service is free – students can start lessons by following the company’s We Chat account – but doesn’t have that much content. Collier, the company plans to launch another version in two months, and will charge students 20 RMB (about $3 USD) per lesson in future versions.
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Rikai Labs’ chatbots, which the company calls “teacherbots”, are responsible for simpler interactions, such as providing practice material and responding to student answers.
“[Chatbots are] taking out all of the drudgery,” says Mr. “Hopefully, [teachers] would be able to deal with twenty students at the same time.” As Rikai Labs’ chatbots get smarter, the student-to-teacher ratio should increase, says Mr. The platform’s chatbots, like Rikai Labs’ students, learn from teacher corrections, which happen not only during human-to-human interactions, but also bot-to-human interactions as well.
Take Ashley Madison, which had its entire source code, internal company emails and 37 million customers' personal information dumped onto torrenting sites earlier this year.
On analysis of the code, it became clear engineers had developed female chatbots, which had in turn engaged some of its male userbase.
Facebook has its own natural language tool called Deep Text, which helps chatbots mimic human speech by learning from Facebook content.