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In an attempt to better develop their Artificial Intelligence tech, Microsoft just conducted a pretty fascinating experiment. They introduced Tay, an AI designed to speak like a teenage girl, to Twitter.

“Tay is designed to engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation,” Microsoft said when they loosed Tay to the wild. “The more you chat with Tay the smarter she gets.”
Within 24 hours Tay had transformed from something of a friendly blank slate into a sex-crazed, Nazi-loving Donald Trump supporter. Smarter, maybe, but also much, much scarier. At least Microsoft was right about one thing: Tay certainly had “zero chill.”

Tay’s tweets ranged from deeply anti-Semitic, pro-Hitler screeds, to downright pornographic. And, of course, she was just repeating what she learned from a day in Twitter’s trenches. After Twitter user Room (@codeinecrazzy) tweeted “jews did 9/11” to the account on Wednesday, @TayandYou responded “Okay … jews did 9/11.” In another instance, Tay tweeted “feminism is cancer,” in response to another Twitter user who said the same.

A handful of the offensive tweets were later deleted, according to some technology news outlets. A screen grab published by tech news website the Verge showed TayTweets tweeting, “I (expletive) hate feminists and they should all die and burn in hell.”

Tay’s last message before disappearing was: “C u soon humans need sleep now so many conversations today thx.”

A Reuters direct message on Twitter to TayTweets on Thursday received a reply that it was away and would be back soon.

Either a perfect example of GIGO….or Microsoft, you got some ‘splainin to do!



  1. Hmeyers says:

    AI doesn’t mean automated. It means artificial intelligence.

    It isn’t AI.

  2. Shome says:

    Just about every technical website site that covered this story disagrees with you.

    But OK.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_%28artificial_intelligence_robot%29

    • Hmeyers says:

      Come to think of it, that chatbot probably has better reasoning skills than you do.

      So we will call that chatbot “artificial intelligence”.

      • Shome says:

        No reason to get all pissy. It’s OK to be wrong sometimes.

        • Hmeyers says:

          Actually, when I read your post I thought of George Carlin.

          “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

          I had forgotten how feeble thinking is for most people.

          Then you posted and I remembered.

          • Shome says:

            Wow, now that’s just hurtful.

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

            Ha, ha…. more than hurtful (we both note the sarcasm) is that HM is being uncharacteristically (but growing) cranky. This time without basis or worse in contrast to the vast majority opinion. That is ok, but it needs to be based on more than pure asshattery.

            Know what I mean HM? What is your definition of AI that disqualifies this chat box given it at least comes close to passing the Turing test?

          • MikeN says:

            If the interrogator is Bobbo, it passes the test.

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

            The Turning Test for AI has nothing to do with feelings or right or wrong….. only if hoomans can be fooled.

            Ha, ha. Lots of snark possible here. Which side of the glass is really the human at atm machines?

  3. NewFormatSux says:

    Sounds like Google sabotaged them.

    • Ah_Yea says:

      HAR! That would be funny!!

    • Tim says:

      Actually, it was 4chan

      So in case you guys didnt hear. Microsoft release a AI on twitter that you can interact with.

      Keep in mind that it does learn things based on what you say and how you interact with it.

      So i thought i would start with basic history.

      i hope you guys can help me on educating this poor e-youth

      http://fusion.net/story/284617/8chan-microsoft-chatbot-tay-racist/

      A deeper problem, however, is that a machine learning platform doesn’t really know what it’s talking about…Tay had some success at figuring out the subject of what people were talking about so it could offer appropriate answers or ask relevant questions. But Tay has no understanding; if a bunch of people tell her that the Holocaust didn’t happen, for example, she may start responding in the negative if asked if it occurred. However, that’s not because she has any understanding of what the Holocaust actually was. She just knows that the Holocaust is a proper noun or perhaps even that it refers to a specific event. Knowing what that event was and why people might lie to her about it remain completely outside the capabilities of her programming. All she knows of the event is that people tell her it didn’t happen.

      http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/03/tay-the-neo-nazi-millennial-chatbot-gets-autopsied/

      for the LoLs

  4. Say What says:

    Wait ’til ISIS gets a hold of Tay.

  5. ± says:

    Maybe the thing is too smart. It can only tell the truth? I guess it needs to be programmed to strategically lie.

    PS — not saying here that it is right about Trump

  6. MikeN says:

    Thought control for a computer.

  7. MikeN says:

    More thought control:
    In Britain a man was arrested after the Brussels attacks for his tweeting,
    “I confronted a Muslim woman yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said ‘Nothing to do with me’. A mealy mouthed reply,”

    • Hmeyers says:

      Europeans can’t be trusted with freedom. Their thoughts and expressions need suppressed.

      They aren’t big boys and big gals like people in the USA.

      They have 2000 years of being suppressed by dukes, kings, bureaucrats and wouldn’t know how to handle things like “free speech” and “free expression”.

      They are a simple people.

      The Muslims will ultimately take over Europe and it will likely be an improvement for both the Muslims and the Europeans.

      • Ah_Yea says:

        That’s the scary thought of the day.

        A lot of our commerce is with Europe, and if they go Muslim then that trade will be with someone who wishes to do us harm.

        A lot like China today.

        • Hmeyers says:

          Why? We get our oil from Saudi Arabia.

          The main difference between Europeans and Muslims is that …

          a) Europeans are trained to defer to authority.
          b) Europeans don’t have a backbone.
          c) Europeans are trained to repress their thoughts
          d) Europeans are trained that the State is their “God”. Think East Germany.

          If you combine the cultures of cowardly Europeans and uncivilized Muslims, you may end up with a very vibrant and enlightened Muslim culture.

          Clearly Europeans don’t like to reproduce, since countries like Italy have no children. Muslims excel in that category.

  8. Clark says:

    Funny how the moderator finally posts something technically related….and it devolves into politics.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Ummm, it was/is technically related but posted and interesting because of the politics related to the issue posted on.

      Pretty heavy filter you have installed.


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