The AI political algorithm – digital’s quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Quis custodiet Robocop? It’s been fascinating to watch the storm over Microsoft’s AI Twitter chat bot, Tay, which learned extreme racism, homophobia, and drug culture from internet trolls and was hastily taken offline.As one commentator put, it went from saying “humans are super cool”, to extolling Nazi values in less than 24 hours – a useful analog of extremism’s connection with ignorance in a meme-propelled culture. But were trolls solely to blame? As journalist Paul Mason noted in his Guardian blog, Tay was essentially feeding off the deep undercurrents of prejudice and hate speech that lurk near the surface of many social platforms. Or at least they do in the West. Tay’s Chinese counterpart, Microsoft’s XiaoIce, has not faced the same problems and has been liaising safely online with millions…


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