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Microsoft shuts AI-bot after twitteratti teaches it racism

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Microsoft does not offer free meals but subsidises the food.
Microsoft does not offer free meals but subsidises the food. Wikimedia Commons

Racism is the never ending issue and the latest victim is Microsoft, which launched artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bot on Twitter for a playful chat with people, only to silence it within 24 hours as users started sharing racist and offensive comments with the bot.

Launched on Twitter as an experiment in “conversational understanding” and to engage people through “casual and playful conversation”, Tay was soon bombarded with racial comments and the innocent bot repeated those comments back with her commentary to users, TechCrunch reported on Friday.

Some of the tweets had Tay referring to Adolf Hitler, denying the Holocaust, supporting Donald Trump’s immigration plans, among others.

Later, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is taking Tay off Twitter as people were posting abusive comments to her.

“The AI chatbot Tay is a machine learning project, designed for human engagement.

Unfortunately, within the first 24 hours of coming online, we became aware of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay’s commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways. As a result, we have taken Tay offline and are making adjustments,” the spokesperson said.

Tay — an AI project built by the Microsoft Technology and Research and Bing teams — was coded with information which can tell users jokes or offer up a comment on a picture you send her.

The bot is also designed to personalise her interactions with users.

But Twitter users soon understood that Tay will repeat back racist tweets with her own commentary and they bombarded her with abusive posts.

Microsoft has since deleted some of the most damaging tweets from nearly the 96,000 that Tay tweeted.

However, a website called Socialhax.com made screenshots of several of Tay’s comments before they were removed.

To a question “is Ricky Gervais an atheist?” Tay replied: “Ricky Gervais learned totalitarianism from Adolf Hitler, the inventor of atheism.”

Soon, Tay was seen referring to feminism as a “cult” and a “cancer”, as well as noting “gender equality feminism” and “I love feminism now.” (IANS)

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Microsoft Preparing to Launch 15-inch Surface Laptop 3

Surface earbuds is also expected to launch, as well as new keyboards with a dedicated Office button taking the place of the right-hand Windows key

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Microsoft may launch a 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 next month alongside a 13.5-inch model, which is the same screen size as the Surface Laptop 2”s.

The company is also expected to launch an AMD-powered Surface Laptop 3 and it is possible that this chip could be found on this rumoured 15-inch model, The Verge reported on Sunday.

As per the report, Microsoft will still offer a screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, as it did on the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop.

Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

In addition, the larger 15-inch model will likely support the Surface Pen as well.

Also Read: Realme 3i: Impressive Look in a Budget Smartphone (Tech Review)

The company is rumoured to launch dual-screen Surface device, codenamed Centaurus. In addition to the Centaurus, Microsoft would bring Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7 and Surface Book 3 in October.

Surface earbuds is also expected to launch, as well as new keyboards with a dedicated Office button taking the place of the right-hand Windows key. (IANS)