Jermaine Defoe

AFC Bournemouth’s chatbot changes depending on whether fans are happy or sad

A Premier League football club has launched a chatbot that changes its responses depending on how happy its fans are.

AFC Bournemouth’s bot will “talk” to people who are delighted their team are winning in a different way compared to if they are unhappy that their club is losing.

The South Coast club, also known as The Cherries, has used emotion recognition and intelligent conversation artificial intelligence from Microsoft to create the “CherryBot”, which is being used at home matches.

Running on Facebook’s Messenger platform, the bot can answer fans’ questions, let them vote for their man of the match, and offer up facts, figures and video highlights. Those at the game can also take part in selfie competitions, which uses Microsoft’s Emotion API to detect faces and analyse feelings such as anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, sadness and surprise. The bot scans the photo using Microsoft’s Content Moderator to ensure it is appropriate and will then respond accordingly.

CherryBot also uses Microsoft’s Language Understanding Intelligent Service, which lets it understand what users are typing and looking for.

During Bournemouth’s match at the Vitality Stadium against Liverpool last month, fans uploaded more than 400 selfies, while over 1,150 Facebook users sent more than 19,200 messages to the bot.

Rob Mitchell, AFC Bournemouth’s commercial director, said he was “delighted at the response from our supporters”.

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson

Jamie Dalton, technical evangelist at Microsoft UK, said the bot worked so well that it was now like one of the squad.

“CherryBot has been an exciting project to be involved in and it’s great to see the latest addition to the squad being so well received by AFC Bournemouth fans,” he said.

“Using Microsoft Azure AI cognitive services, we’re delighted to see how CherryBot engaged and entertained fans on matchday. We look forward to working with AFC Bournemouth and [local digital agency] Greenwood Campbell to roll out additional functionality for fans in the coming weeks.”