This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Technology Edition

Early Wednesday morning, a new Twitter user named Tay met the world. She was a Microsoft-designed experiment in artificial intelligence that would develop an increasingly human-like persona by engaging with Millennials online. Early this morning though, Tay abruptly withdrew from the world. It seems she learned too indiscriminately, repeating all sorts of language that had been directed at her–including racial epithets, political conspiracy theories, and all-caps Trumpisms (Microsoft has since deleted the tweets, though The Guardian was kind enough to take screenshots). If you’re like me, your initial reaction to Tay was excitement. AI is cool. Chatbots are fun. It seemed like a neat experiment. I spent the afternoon chatting with Inc. columnist John Brandon about a post on Tay. His working headline was This Sassy Twitter Chatbot by Microsoft Talks Like a Millennial…and It’s Awesome. Ultimately, the headline became Microsoft…


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