Released in April 2020 and created by Facebook, BlenderBot makes a super-chatbot. In other words, it is able to speak on open questions
Recently, version 2 has been released but this article remains on version 1 for simplicity
Our goal, create a server with Flask that will allow to have an API to communicate with the chatbot
1. We will be able to reset the conversation (remove the context)
2. Put a first context, which would allow to give a personality to the chatbot
3. Send a message and get the chatbot’s answer
- Have Python 3 and Pip installed on your machine
- Have some knowledge of the Python language
Note that a good computer is necessary. The worse your machine’s capabilities are, the slower the chatbot will respond.
1. Create a file named main.py
2. Go ahead, install the packages
pip install flask transfomers torch
Remember to create a virtual environment to initialize a Python project
We import the library:
1. transformers and classes for the conversation
2. flask for the server and jsonify because we will return the JSON format to the client
We get the pre-trained model (line 5) and the tokenizer (line 6)
A tokenizer is a tool based on an algorithm based on a set of rules or on learning from a manually tagged corpus. It allows to split the text into words.
The model will be downloaded at the first start of our application
We take the model with 400M parameters because the results are rather correct. You can take larger models but it will consume more resources on your machine
We create a variable “nlp” which will allow, later, to have a generated text.
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Our enpoint will be /add_input which we can call with the POST method
* (Line 3) We retrieve the text in the corpt of the request
* (Line 4) Add the user’s input to the conversation
* (Line 5) Process the message to get a response from the chatbot
* (Line 7 to 11) We browse the result to form a list of messages (and form our dictionary to return)
Just with the two code blocks above, you can already test:
1. Start the server:
By default, the server runs on port 5000
On my end, here is the return:
Why? Because if you continue the conversation, it will keep the context. Ideally, we’d like to start from scratch.
We add an endpoint for that, which I call /reset:
What can be interesting is to give a personality. How, by adding our own context.
* (Line 4) — We add a default text (we deduce that the user says hello at the beginning)
* (Line 5) — We give a default text, which represents the personality of the chatbot
* (Line 7) — We “archive” the previous messages and consider them as a context
And if we test with the commands
Here is the return
Now that we have the API, we can create the frontend.
I’m not going to explain it here (because I focus on BlenderBot) but if you want to have the explanation, tell me in comment
Giving a personality:
And this is the beginning of a conversation: