Radical Interventions of the Uranus-Eris Kind

click to enlarge Amanda Painter You might have seen this news item from last week and rolled your eyes with a sigh or a ‘tsk-tsk’: Researchers at Microsoft decided to let loose on Twitter a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI)—a machine learning program—to learn how to interact like a human being on social media. Perhaps unsurprisingly yet still dishearteningly, the Twitter bot fell prey to trolls and the lowest-common-denominator factor online, and soon began spewing bigoted, callous hate speech. As Vice magazine reports, “Within 24 hours, the Twitter bot @TayandYou had turned spectacularly ugly in the way only the Internet can turn things ugly, spewing racism and hate at Twitter users in a series of horrifying tweets.” Microsoft took it offline, deleting most of its 100,000 tweets (screenshots still exist…

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