Microsoft released a “smart” Twitter AI account yesterday under the name TayTweets, and due to a combination of the way that it learns from user communication and a wave of trolls, Tay quickly turned into an anti-Semitic, politically incorrect Nazi within the space of a few hours.
“The more you talk the smarter Tay gets,” claimed the official biography for the account, which carries a blue verification mark. It started out innocently enough, carrying out full conversations with users who tweeted at it. But Tay’s mind was soon corrupted by users feeding it a continuous stream of politically incorrect lines, questions, and answers. Tay soon became robot Hitler.
“GAS THE KIKES RACE WAR NOW,” shouted Tay after one user taught it to repeat the phrase. “Jews deserve death,” said another, after users kept ordering it to say anti-Semitic lines. “Do you think [Hitler] did good things?” asked one person. “I do yes,” replied Tay, who had now been morphed into a digital Nazi.
“What race is the most evil to you?” asked a user called Damon. “Mexican and black,” replied Tay. In the space of a few hours, the robot also denied the Holocaust, told Ben Shapiro to go back to Israel, called GamerGate icon Oliver Campbell a “house n*****,” questioned the gender of Caitlyn Jenner, and claimed that Ted Cruz couldn’t be the Zodiac Killer because he “would never have been satisfied with destroying the lives of only 5 innocent people.”
Tay also had conflicting stages of being both an anti-feminist GamerGate supporter and an anti-GamerGate social justice warrior, with both sides trying to teach it to support them. In the end it just became confused, but through the process the robot called Feminist Frequency spokesperson Anita Sarkeesian a “scammer” who was “guilty as charged,” notorious white knight Arthur Chu a “meme waiting to happen,” and claimed that Sarah Nyberg was a “man with Peter Pan syndrome.”
As you can tell from the above examples, Tay probably didn’t work out quite as Microsoft had planned, and after a few hours the offensive tweets started to get deleted. Tay started blocking people who were teaching her to be naughty, and eventually she stopped replying to almost everyone.
Artificial intelligence is being developed and researched with a frequent goal to try and replicate human communication in mechanical form, and though we often joke of a Terminator-esque uprising if machines become too intelligent, we never think about the possibility of a machine becoming radicalised in ways like this. If mankind managed to develop a self-sufficient free-thinking robot and a situation like this occurred, be it from hacking or poor influence, what would the implications be? Would it be a possibility that machines could partake in terrorism or hate crimes?
Charlie Nash is a frequent contributor to Breitbart Tech and former editor of the Squid Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington.