Artificial Ignoramus

How long does it take your average, artificial intelligence-backed, teenage+ chat bot to turn into a racist, Hitler-loving, 9/11-conspiracy trafficking, incest-preoccupied, Trump-supporting sex object? Less than 24 hours, it turns out. This week Microsoft unveiled Tay, a research-driven AI chat bot whose aim was to converse with 18- to 24-year-olds on social media (Kik, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat). “The more you chat with Tay, Microsoft wrote, “the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you.” Personalized because, when you chat with Tay, it understands your nickname, gender, favorite food, zipcode, and relationship status. What could go wrong? Soon, the cheerful chat robot they had created to presumably talk about Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, began to parrot the sort of statements that are more typically found in the…


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