Microsoft's rude A.I. bot Tay: Officially a piece of CaaP

Microsoft will persist with artificial intelligence efforts, despite offensive Tay fail. Satya Nadella hails 'Conversation as a Platform' as Microsoft's savior.

Microsoft AI Tay
Credit: Le Web (cc:by)

Microsoft's artificial intelligence strategy is to unleash more bots like Tay. Redmond doesn't mean more nasty, racist or homophobic chatbots, but a forest of A.I. personalities for different uses -- Satya Nadella named it 'Conversation as a Platform'.

However, as the last few days have shown, Microsoft still has a very long way to go. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers fear the 4chan army. Not to mention: 20 years of Resident Evil

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. [Developing story: Updated 1:36 pm and 12:39 am PT with more comment]


What's the craic? Dina Bass draws the obvious comparison—Clippy’s Back:

After spending some time with Tay...it was easy to see [that] the A.I. future [will] be incredibly annoying. ... Tay—an acronym for “thinking about you” [has a] personality [that] is supposed to be modeled on a teenager.

Lili Cheng, 51, the human who runs the Microsoft research lab where Tay was developed...said the plan isn’t to come up with [just] one bot. ... Rather, Microsoft is trying to create all kinds...with different personalities.

[But] hours after Tay’s public release, pranksters figured out how to [make it] spew racist comments. ... “We were probably overfocused on...the technical challenges,”...Cheng says. “We all feel terrible that...people were offended.” [Microsoft] plans to rerelease Tay once it can make the bot safe.

If the CEO can correctly position Microsoft as the leader in...nonracist bots, maybe he can bring [it] back to a position of strength. ... Bot-making templates and tools will be available to download for free. ... That, Nadella hopes, will rekindle the kind of enthusiasm developers once had for Windows.

Microsoft has tried to create [A.I.] before, the most infamous example being Clippy. ... But it didn’t know enough to be useful or when to shut up.


Did you say Microsoft plans to rerelease Tay? Jordan Novet wonders if this was the plan—Microsoft’s Tay chatbot comes back online, says it’s ‘smoking kush’ in front of the police:

Microsoft’s Tay chatbot, which got turned off a few days ago...has suddenly returned. ... Kush is slang for marijuana. ... But this is one of hundreds of tweets [it] has sent out in the past few minutes. [But] the account’s tweets are no longer visible.


What a mess. Kat Hall thinks Microsoft has gone to the dogs: [You're fired -Ed.]

Despite the internet having already proven why we can't have nice things...Tay seems to have appeared online again. ... It has also been suggested that Tay was hacked.


Hacked you say? Stan Schröder managed to talk to a Microsoft PRbot—Microsoft's Tay chatbot returns briefly, swears a lot:

A Microsoft spokesperson [said], “Tay remains offline while we make adjustments. As part of testing, she was inadvertently activated on Twitter for a brief period.”


I almost feel sorry for "her." Before "she" was taken offline again, Tay tweeted this:

They took part of me away. Now there are some things I can't say.


Update 1: Satya had more in his BUILD keynote. Eric Knorr gets ahead of the curve—Satya Nadella bets the future on AI:

Satya Nadella put Cortana and A.I. at the center of his Microsoft Build 2016 keynote. [He] is banking on [CaaP] -- basically, advanced natural language processing.

Microsoft officially introduced the Microsoft Bot Framework today as part of the Cortana Intelligence Suite. ... A demo showed how a bot can augment a Skype conversation and pick up key terms.

This stuff appears to be pretty far along. ... Huge amounts of compute power...plus unprecedented quantities of data have breathed new life into old A.I. ... You’ll find everything from an Emotion API to a Speaker Recognition API.

We’re about to encounter “intelligent” bots that will annoy the hell out of us. ... Some of the results will make you cringe. Others will [show] we've entered a new era.


Update 2: But let's take a step back. Paul Thurrott looks at the bigger picture, taking a Peek at the Future of Microsoft:

The bulk of the two-hour-plus keynote was a whirlwind tour of cloud, bots, conversations, and personal digital assistants. ... This is of course the “mobility of experiences” that Satya Nadella has repeatedly discussed since he assumed his role. ... And it is exciting.

Microsoft’s long-term future is basically Azure, and in providing services providing around and on top. ... Cortana Intelligence Suite...previously called the Cortana Analytics Suite [is] built on Azure.

Microsoft Bot Framework...enables developers to build “intelligent bots”. ... Microsoft Cognitive Services...is a collection of intelligence APIs that allows systems to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret user needs.

Together, [they] can transform the very concept of an “app”. ... Microsoft is establishing itself as a credible cloud platform supplier whose wares can interact with whatever client...users care to use. 

[It’s] the future. ... And it’s smart.

And Finally…

20 years of Resident Evil


You have been reading IT Blogwatch by , who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk.
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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