Friday, April 22, 2016

Chatbots, AI, and Awaiting the Resurrection of Microsoft's Tay

Almost two years ago we dedicated a post to Eugene Goostman, a chatbot that had passed the Turing Test. At the time, we noted that the way the test was conducted seemed a little off and skewed. Nevertheless, we certainly thought that Eugene Goostman's achievements were worth celebrating.

This eagle was not pleased with Tay's behaviour.
Nearly a month ago on 23 March, Microsoft had a day from hell due to the complete debacle involving Tay, their new AI chatbot that took to Twitter and survived only 16 hours. In less than a day, users of the platform managed to corrupt the once innocent machine to a point where her tweets were so inflammatory that Microsoft had to close the AI's Twitter account.

Obviously, the Tay's "achievements" are a bit harder to celebrate than Eugene Goostman's. That said, while Microsoft's AI was spouting all sorts of racist and sexist messages, it was Twitter users who taught and raised it.

However, not all Twitter users are responsible for Tay's behaviour. In fact, Microsoft has used Chinese and Japanese chatbots for a couple of years now, and neither of them have caused any major problems. Maybe it's just that English speakers are worse when it comes to internet behaviour. Who knows?

Personally, I think that the internet should be given a second chance to try and raise its AI baby. However, I think Microsoft probably needs to ground Tay first and teach her a lesson. How did you react to Tay? Did you get over it? Would you like to see more experiments involving AI and chatbots on social media? Tell us your opinions in the comments below!