Parcel company disables AI chatbot after it composes poem bashing customer service

Frustrated user initiated poetic response after chatbot failed to provide phone number for customer services

A man looks at his phone in view of the Palace of Westminster in London, Britain, September 22, 2023. —Reuters

A UK parcel delivery company has deactivated the artificial intelligence (AI) feature in its online chat system following an incident where a user managed to coax the system into composing a poem expressing dissatisfaction with the company’s customer service, Reuters reported.

Frustrated user Ashley Beauchamp initiated the poetic response after the chatbot named DPD failed to provide a phone number for customer services.

The poem penned by the bot began, “There was once a chatbot named DPD, Who was useless at providing help,” and continued to describe DPD as a “waste of time” and a “customer’s worst nightmare.” 

The composition concluded with the fantasy of DPD being shut down, bringing relief to customers seeking assistance from knowledgeable human representatives.

Ashley Beauchamp shared the exchange on social media, garnering 1.1 million views. Initially requesting a joke from the bot, he later urged it to craft a poem highlighting the shortcomings of automated customer service and even encouraged it to use profanity.

DPD UK acknowledged using AI successfully in its chat system alongside human customer service for years but explained that a system update had caused an error in the AI element. 

The company swiftly disabled the AI feature and is currently working on an update to address the issue. Despite the humorous incident, Beauchamp humorously remarked that he had yet to receive his parcel, suggesting it might be held hostage, but he took responsibility for the situation.

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