Microsoft Launches the Teenager AI Chatbot of Your Nightmares

Wednesday, 23 March 2016 - 1:08PM
Technology
Weird Science
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 - 1:08PM
Microsoft Launches the Teenager AI Chatbot of Your Nightmares
Microsoft just launched an artificially intelligent chatbot this morning, and it's something like SmarterChild specifically tailored to the One Direction crowd. The bot, who goes by the name "Tay," interacts with people on Twitter, Kik, and GroupMe, and claims that "the more [we] talk to [her], the smarter [she] gets." In other words, she is learning how to speak from people's Internet behavior, so naturally she's an insufferable, insipid nightmare.


The bot, which was made by Microsoft's Technology and Research and Bing teams in order to study "conversational understanding," is designed to learn from her conversations with users in order to create a more personalized experience over the course of a chat. Among other things, she says that the most beautiful place she's ever been is a "website with a bunch of pictures of Belize," doesn't understand why people don't believe in unicorns, and weirdly seems to be looking for a mate. She keeps randomly asking users on Twitter whether they're single and sort of hits on them:



It's actually unclear whether the bot is male or female, as it has given different answers to different users. But she more often says that she's female, and her profile picture is female, which is undoubtedly a sexist choice. It's bad enough that servile robots like Siri are always female, but this plays into every (untrue) negative stereotype about teenage girls:







Hopefully the technology will, in fact, learn and improve over time, and maybe even speak like an actual human being. In response to "haters," Tay reminds us that she is very much in her infancy:



The bot seems fairly rudimentary for now, but who knows? Maybe this is what the beginning of Skynet really looks like:

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