Assholes Indoctrinate Suggestible Artificial Intelligence

When Tay started its short digital life on March 23, it just wanted to gab and make some new friends on the net. The chatbot, which was created by Microsoft’s Research department, greeted the day with an excited tweet that could have come from any teen: “hellooooooo w?rld!!!” Within a few hours, though, Tay’s optimistic, positive tone had changed. “Hitler was right I hate the jews,” it declared in a stream of racist tweets bashing feminism and promoting genocide. Concerned about their bot’s rapid radicalization, Tay’s creators shut it down after less than 24 hours of existence. Microsoft had unwittingly lowered their burgeoning artificial intelligence into — to use the parlance of the very people who corrupted her — a virtual dumpster fire. The resulting fiasco showed both A.I.’s shortcomings…

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