Thursday, March 24, 2016

Last Call For Killer Nazi Robots From Hell

Good-natured Microsoft engineers put "Tay", their adaptive chatbot experiment, out in the wild to see what it could learn from being online and interacting with people on Twitter. In under 24 hours, the chatbot learned the cold truth about people on the internet: they're mostly abusive, racist assholes.

The aim was to "experiment with and conduct research on conversational understanding," with Tay able to learn from "her" conversations and get progressively "smarter." 
But Tay proved a smash hit with racists, trolls, and online troublemakers, who persuaded Tay to blithely use racial slurs, defend white-supremacist propaganda, and even outright call for genocide. 
Microsoft has now taken Tay offline for "upgrades," and it is deleting some of the worst tweets — though many still remain. It's important to note that Tay's racism is not a product of Microsoft or of Tay itself. Tay is simply a piece of software that is trying to learn how humans talk in a conversation. Tay doesn't even know it exists, or what racism is. The reason it spouted garbage is because racist humans on Twitter quickly spotted a vulnerability — that Tay didn't understand what it was talking about — and exploited it. 
Nonetheless, it is hugely embarrassing for the company. 
In one highly publicised tweet, which has since been deleted, Tay said: "bush did 9/11 and Hitler would have done a better job than the monkey we have now. donald trump is the only hope we've got." In another, responding to a question, she said, "ricky gervais learned totalitarianism from adolf hitler, the inventor of atheism."

If you ask me, Tay was a near-perfect success of emulating the thought patterns of your average twenty-something Twitter troll spouting racist garbage. Tay performed beautifully, frankly. And of course she likes Trump.

Let me know when the "more liberal than thou" version is out so I can use it to anticipate the outrage of the purity caucus.

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