UK courier service, DPD, has deactivated the artificial intelligence (AI) feature in its web-based chat systems after a disgruntled individual manipulated the technology into crafting a poem dedicated to the company’s poor customer service.

After failed attempts to extract a customer service phone number from DPD’s chatbot, Ashley Beauchamp channelled his frustrations into creativity, instructing the bot to compose a poem on the service’s shortcomings.

The resulting ode read: “There was once a chatbot named DPD, Who was useless at providing help… DPD was a waste of time, And a customer’s worst nightmare.” The ditty ended with: “One day, DPD was finally shut down and everyone rejoiced. Finally they could get the help they needed, From a real person who knew what they were doing.”

An accomplished pianist and conductor, Beauchamp posted his bardic outburst on X – formerly Twitter – last week, where it has racked up over a million views.

The musician had originally intended to get the AI bot to tell a joke, after it was unable to explain the status of a parcel on its way to Beauchamp. The bot obliged with a joke, and so Beauchamp went one further and asked it to compose the poem, also encouraging it to use profane language.

Discussing the missing package, Beauchamp told ITV news, “I think they might hold it hostage now. I wouldn’t blame them…that’s totally on me.”

DPD UK say that the chatbot’s output was down to a malfunction in a system patch. The delivery firm has, however, been employing AI successfully for several years in parallel with human-based customer service provision.

As reported by ITV, DPD UK said:

“The AI element was immediately disabled and is currently being updated.”

Know the risks

The use of AI chatbots is increasingly common in commerce, but those employing the technology still have many challenges to navigate if they are to successfully tread the line between automation and human intervention.

The issues fall under the spotlight this month at Global Privacy Day, where experts will discuss best practice when embracing AI-powered functionality, and offer guidance on how AI can be used in ways that promote privacy and security.

Not to be missed at Global Privacy Day

Safeguarding AI Data

Date: Thursday, January 25th 2024

Time: 13:30 – 14:00 GMT

This engaging discussion aims to demystify common misconceptions surrounding AI data protection while shedding light on factual insights. Participants will navigate through the intricacies of safeguarding AI-generated data, gaining a comprehensive understanding of essential practices.

Whether you’re an AI enthusiast, a data protection professional or simply curious about the intersection of AI and privacy, this session promises to unravel the complexities and provide practical insights for effective AI data protection.

Securing Board Support: Effectively Articulating Privacy Strategies to Board Members

Date: Thursday, January 25th 2024

Time: 15:45 - 16:15 pm (GMT)

This session addresses the pivotal task of communicating privacy matters to board members, emphasising the need for alignment between privacy strategies and board-level understanding. 

Dive into practical insights, successful communication strategies and case studies that illuminate effective ways to convey the importance of privacy initiatives. Join us for a session that bridges the communication gap and empowers you to navigate privacy discussions at the board level.

Safeguarding AI Data and Securing Board Support: Effectively Articulating Privacy Strategies to Board Members are just two of the exclusive sessions taking place at Global Privacy Day.

Click here to see the full agenda

Global Privacy Day

Taking place virtually on 25 January 2024, as part of Data Privacy Day, Global Privacy Day will bring together thought leaders and senior industry professionals to discuss the present landscape of data protection and privacy and the current and future challenges that professionals are up against.

This one-day event will provide a platform for attendees to network, exchange ideas, gain insight into the latest developments in the field of privacy, and the opportunity to discuss strategies and best practices to ensure the protection of data.

Click here to register for free for Global Privacy Day