Microsoft ‘Deeply Sorry’ For Chatbot Offenses –

7 months ago Comments Off on Microsoft ‘Deeply Sorry’ For Chatbot Offenses –

SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft is “deeply sorry for the unintended offensive and hurtful tweets” generated by its renegade artificial intelligence chatbot, Tay, which was abruptly taken offline Thursday after one day of life.

The company said it will bring Tay back after engineers can plan better for hackers with “malicious intent that conflicts with our principles and values,” according to a blog post Friday by Peter Lee, vice president of Microsoft Research.

Tay launched Wednesday with little fanfare. The experiment was aimed at 18- to 24-year-olds communicating via text, Twitter and Kik, and its AI mission was largely to engage social users in conversation. Tay was modeled on a successful chatbot launch in China, Xiaolche, that has been embraced apparently without incident by 40 million users, the post notes.

But shortly after its U.S. debut, Tay was hacked and began spewing offensive dialogue, prompting Microsoft to pull the computer’s plug. Lee writes that although “we had prepared for many types of abuses of the system, we had made a critical oversight for this specific attack. As a result, Tay tweeted wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images. We take full responsibility for not seeing this possibility ahead of time.”

Artificial intelligence is gaining momentum as computing power continues to grow exponentially. While the most sophisticated AI devices are still in the hands of large companies such as IBM (Watson) and Google (DeepMind), tech entrepreneurs are eager to take rudimentary systems such as Siri and Cortana to the next predictive level. Siri’s founder, Dag Kittlaus, is working on a follow-up called Viv which promises to have “thinking” properties.

Not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of machines gaining the ability to reason like humans. Tesla founder Elon Musk continues to warn about the rise of robots. Microsoft’s Lee hinted that it won’t all be smooth sailing, as Tay’s vulnerability shows.

“Looking ahead, we face some difficult – and yet exciting – research challenges in AI design,” he writes. “We will do everything possible to limit technical exploits but also know we cannot fully predict all possible human interactive misuses without learning from mistakes. … We will remain steadfast in our efforts to learn from this and other experiences as we work toward contributing to an Internet that represents the best, not the worst, of humanity.”

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Microsoft ‘Deeply Sorry’ For Chatbot Offenses –

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