AI slipup | DPD disables chatbot after it labels company 'worst delivery service'

DPD disables chatbot after it labels company 'worst delivery service'

DPD has disabled its online chatbot after a customer was able to make the Artificial Intelligence (AI) employee swear and criticise the parcel company.

The customer, Ashley Beauchamp, a classical musician based in London, grew frustrated when he couldn’t get more information about his missing IKEA parcel while using the online chatbot feature within DPD’s website.

“It couldn't give me any information about the parcel, it couldn't pass me on to a human, and it couldn't give me the number of their call centre,” Beauchamp told Sky News.

Sharing his conversation with the robot on X, formerly Twitter, Beauchamp gave the AI bot prompts to tell jokes and write poems about how DPD is the “worst delivery company” and an “unreliable” service.

The online post went viral, gaining over 15,000 likes and gaining over a million views in the space of a day.

The customer went on to suggest why his social media post garnered so much attention, explaining that it “really struck a chord with people”.

"These chatbots are supposed to improve our lives, but so often when poorly implemented it just leads to a more frustrating, impersonal experience for the user,” he went on to say.

Consequently, DPD disabled the online function, saying the customer service chatbot had suffered from an error after a system update.

DPD released a statement saying: "We are aware of this and can confirm that it is from a customer service chatbot. In addition to human customer service, we have operated an AI element within the chat successfully for a number of years," the company said in a statement.

"An error occurred after a system update yesterday. The AI element was immediately disabled and is currently being updated."

AI employees and setbacks

Artificial Intelligence is entering the UK workforce in a variety of different ways. This story highlights the potential limitations and setbacks potentially associated with going ‘all in’ with AI in the workplace.

As many companies fully commit to the integration of this technology, there may still be gaps in how it integrates into their business.

Yes, robot employees don’t require training, breaks, annual leave or pay, but with them being an independent piece of technology, they also don’t necessarily have the same level of loyalty or common sense as human employees.

And with the general public becoming increasingly AI-savvy, and fast, the potential of these tools to be manipulated increases.

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