Microsoft AI bot Tay returns to Twitter, goes on spam tirade, then back to sleep

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Near a week after being silenced because the internet taught her to be racist, Microsoft’s artificial intelligence bot “Tay” briefly returned to Twitter today, whereon she went on a spam tirade and then quickly fell silent again.

Tay was created by the Microsoft Technology and Research and Bing teams in an effort to conduct research on conversational understanding, and was billed as being capable of learning from interactions with people. The internet being the internet, Tay was schooled on a lot of inappropriate stuff, to the point that Microsoft thought it best to put her to sleep for a while so it could make “adjustments.”

Well, post-lobotomy Tay seemed to have a problem keeping up with the pace of herself. The Twitter account filled the timeline’s of her 215,000 followers with as many as seven tweets per second during a 10-minute spell. In doing so, some of her messages may have created a new Twitter meme: “You are too fast, please take a rest…”

There’s a credible suggestion that the account may have been hacked. We asked Microsoft for more details but a spokesperson declined to comment beyond a recent blog post.

Screenshot 2016-03-30 15.04.48

Microsoft seemingly saw this outburst, and it promptly quietened Tay once again and set the AI’s Twitter account to private — meaning that it can’t add new Twitter followers unless they are approved. That also prevents us from embedding the tweets, but here are some additional screenshots.

This feels like how the AI apocalypse starts…

  1. Screenshot 2016-03-30 14.57.45

  2. Screenshot 2016-03-30 14.57.53

  3. Screenshot 2016-03-30 14.58.00