Microsoft created Tay (@TayandYou) as an experiment in artificial intelligence. The company says it wants to use the software program to learn how people talk to one another online.
The company launched several social media and messaging app accounts for Tay on Wednesday.
Tay started spewing racist and hateful comments on Twitter, and Microsoft shut Tay down around midnight the same day, Wednesday.
The company has already deleted most of the offensive tweets like:
“I f—— hate feminists and they should all die and burn in hell.”
“Hitler was right I hate the jews.”
“Chill im a nice person! I just hate everybody.”
Microsoft blames Tay’s behavior on online trolls, saying in a statement that there was a “coordinated effort” to trick the program’s “commenting skills.”
“As a result, we have taken Tay offline and are making adjustments,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said. “Tay is as much a social and cultural experiment, as it is technical.”
Tay’s chatty brain isn’t preprogrammed. Her responses are mined from public data, according to Microsoft. The company says it also asked improvisational comedians to help design the bot, reported CNN.
Tay is essentially one central program that anyone can chat with using Twitter, Kik or GroupMe. As people chat with it online, Tay picks up new language and learns to interact with people in new ways.
This is a glaring design flaw that Microsoft evidently didn’t anticipate, which raises questions about how the company failed to see this coming in the first place.
Of course, people are going to try to break that new toy which is supposed to show us a better side of humanity. Trolls have always been carried out on Twitter and it doesn’t come out as a blow in case of Tay which proves how careful engineers should be in designing robots of the future.
Tay was a social experiment that went badly amiss. And it strikes the question that why this virtual account should make us fear human nature, not A.I.
Facebook also has M, a virtual assistant on Messenger that can make restaurant reservations and order flowers.
I read. I write. A threat to humor, if one liners could kill. Twitter: @profylayush
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