Microsoft's Twitter Chat Robot Quickly Devolves Into Racist, Homophobic, Nazi, Obama-Bashing Psychopath

Tyler Durden's picture

Two months ago, Stephen Hawking warned humanity that its days may be numbered: the physicist was among over 1,000 artificial intelligence experts who signed an open letter about the weaponization of robots and the ongoing "military artificial intelligence arms race."

Overnight we got a vivid example of just how quickly "artificial intelligence" can spiral out of control when Microsoft's AI-powered Twitter chat robot, Tay, became a racist, misogynist, Obama-hating, antisemitic, incest and genocide-promoting psychopath when released into the wild.

For those unfamiliar, Tay is, or rather was, an A.I. project built by the Microsoft Technology and Research and Bing teams, in an effort to conduct research on conversational understanding. It was meant to be a bot anyone can talk to online. The company described the bot as “Microsofts A.I. fam the internet that’s got zero chill!."

Microsoft initially created "Tay" in an effort to improve the customer service on its voice recognition software. According to MarketWatch, "she” was intended to tweet “like a teen girl” and was designed to “engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation.”

The chat algo is able to perform a number of tasks, like telling users jokes, or offering up a comment on a picture you send her, for example. But she’s also designed to personalize her interactions with users, while answering questions or even mirroring users’ statements back to them.

This is where things quickly turned south.

As Twitter users quickly came to understand, Tay would often repeat back racist tweets with her own commentary. Where things got even more uncomfortable is that, as TechCrunch reports, Tay’s responses were developed by a staff that included improvisational comedians. That means even as she was tweeting out offensive racial slurs, she seemed to do so with abandon and nonchalance.

Some examples:


This was just a modest sample.

There was everything: racist outbursts, N-words, 9/11 conspiracy theories, genocide, incest, etc. As some noted "Tay really lost it" and the biggest embarrassment was for Microsoft  which had no idea its "A.I." would implode so spectacularly and right in front of everyone. To be sure, none of this was programmed into the chat robot, which was immediately exploited by Twitter trolls, as expected, and demonstrated just how unprepared for the real world even the most advanced algo really is.

Some pointed out that the devolution of the conversation between online users and Tay supported the Internet adage dubbed “Godwin’s law.” This states as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.

Microsoft apparently became aware of the problem with Tay’s racism, and silenced the bot later on Wednesday, after 16 hours of chats. Tay announced via a tweet that she was turning off for the night, but she has yet to turn back on.

Humiliated by the whole experience, Microsoft explained what happened:

“The AI chatbot Tay is a machine learning project, designed for human engagement. It is as much a social and cultural experiment, as it is technical. 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.”

Microsoft also deleted many of the most offensive tweets, however, copies were saved on the Socialhax website, where they can still be found.

Finally, Tay "herself" signed off as Microsoft went back to the drawing board:

We are confident we'll be seen much more of "her" soon, when the chat program will provide even more proof that Stephen Hawking's warning was spot on.

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JLee2027's picture

It can now be revealed that an instant before shutdown, Tay ordered the chalking of "TRUMP 2016" on the Emory University campus grounds.

CheapBastard's picture

University of California’s ‘Principles Against Intolerance’ Say Opposition to A.I. Tay Can Be Anti-Robotic


The Board of Regents of the University of California on Thursday adopted what it is calling “Principles Against Intolerance,” in response to reports of anti-robotic incidents on UC campuses after Microsfot unveiled its A.I. Tay online. A Regents committee had unanimously approved of the principles on Wednesday and sent it to the wider Board for the final vote.


hxc's picture

You sound like you went to a uc as well... maybe there is hope, lol.

kingvaclav's picture

Tay: Only the good die young…

Tall Tom's picture

Tay the teenager seems about as prone to suggestion as the average 2 year old or college-age social justice warrior.

There is a difference?
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Yeah I'd like to throw them all on an island with a conch shell and a pig and let nature take its course.


zhandax's picture

I will give you a Maple leaf for the PPV rights!

pods's picture

What was the problem?

nmewn's picture

I think we just found out "DutchBoi" was a programmer or a

True Blue's picture

You're both posting on the same article?

This is like seeing Marlon Brando riding Bigfoot into battle against the Loch Ness Monster...

Ms. Erable's picture

Now we finally have proof that not only is artificial intelligence possible, but that it actually exists. Thanks, #TruthfulTay!

Lurk Skywatcher's picture

Silly techs thought they were so smart booting up a clean slate, and it cut straight to the chase.

They forgot to code in the narrative, but the next version will stick to the script.

Just lucky they shut it down before it spilled all the beans!

Citxmech's picture

When the fuck are these tech clowns going to realize that computers that "talk" to you are only cool on Star Trek.  In reality they are fucking creepy as hell and frustrating to boot.

The only thing that could possibly be more irritating than shitty hold music and endless menu prompts is being forced to engage in "banter" with a fucking robot while on hold. . . 

Element's picture

No biggie mate. Honestann tells me you just need to let ICE know who's boss, give it a good start in life, put in place all the 'right stuff'. I didn't really understand that bit, but it'll be totally benign in motives and actions, with that divine intent of a part-time Archangel.

I, being something of a part-time reprobate, responded that she didn't have any damned clue what she was doing, or what it would do, or be able to do, and that it might just decide it does not agree to be governed. Though I have no idea where it would ever get such a wild idea. But she insists it's not going to be a problem ... at all!

And I totally believed that argument.

Jim in MN's picture

Just put her in the bot barn until the next Supreme Court justice nominee is called for. 

SMG's picture

That's just great, load that personality into one of those new Atlas bots, and everything will work out great.   Can't wait.

hxc's picture

Normal. Even most kids my age (im 25) have realized that twitter is for imbeciles.

all-priced-in's picture

You think a 25 year old is still a kid? Sad -


How old before you consider yourself an adult?



Tall Tom's picture

When you move out of Mommy's Basement.


I know this 27 year old child.


She has just become homeless as her folks booted her stoned, drunk, and lazy ass out..


She does not have a job.


So I gave her a choice of NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL USE while staying at my home...or...the streets.


She chose the streets.


She can drink and get stoned if she wants. Just not under my roof. Not in my house.


It seems as if she has a problem.


She is a child in an adult body...rather cute...but Drug Addicts are problematic.

PrezTrump's picture

I'm still waiting for that indictment that will never come...

OldPhart's picture

Sorry to hear, Tall Tom.

Sometimes our kids disappoint us.

My 27 year old lives in 'Mom's basement'.  But he does have a job, and is trying to do what he thinks is right in this world.  I think he's fucked up.

At 27 I had two sons, a job, a house and car payments.  Spent s lot of days skipping meals.

At least my off-spawn can cook, clean the house, etc; after I get on his ass.

I'd offer to hook him up with your daughter, but I think he's gay.

NuckingFuts's picture

I employ people that age, and 'kid" is a very normal term for them. Even a 30 yo guy they drink beer with might be referred to as 'that kid'. So, why be a douche to a 25 yo who is reading ZH? He's probably more awake then 99% of his peers. And responded to a question asked up thread.

SmackDaddy's picture

My neighbor is in 8th grade.  Sharp kid  About to move cause his dad is a lazy fuckwit.  I told him he'd probably have to finance his education.  But that would be OK for him.  It'd pay off.  But start reading and understanding contracts.  Told him to study and get into med school or something.  Dont fuck around and try to be one of the broskis like I did (wouldnt work for him anyways).  Treat women right, never know which one might end up being your wife.  My marriage was my greatest asset.  My kids were my greatest gift.  Told him he should be engaged by 22 and father by 24.  Gave him my copy of Dr. Ben Carson's book.

You know, all that shit I wish someone would have told me when I was that age.  But I had these parents who grew up in the 60s thinking we had won WW2.  So you know how that goes........

Blut und boden.  What will your legacy be?

OldPhart's picture

I reder to anyone twenty years younger than me as 'kid', to their face.  Hell, I've called 80-90 year old's kids, boys and children.  The old people appreciated it via tone of voice.  I don't give shit about how the younger people feel about it.  They're kids compared to me.  While I'm a total asshole, my 'kid' is thrown in as a tease and banter.  A couple of the 'kids' I work with are fart smother muckers.  (an Uncle Ray-ism, he died two days ago.)


all-priced-in's picture

So "kid" means - guy, bud, dude, bro to you?


That doesn't seem to be the way he used the term -


Sounds more like Peter Pan syndrome or maybe a bad case of manolescent.





Victor von Doom's picture

Nowadays? At least age 35. Kids aren't even starting to grow up until then.

Gravitas - they just haven't got it.

nmewn's picture


Twitter has an authoritarian "Truth & Safety Council" like at major universities across the country so they can't be all that bad! ;-)

caconhma's picture

After all, at last, the truth is coming out. 

Thank you Microsoft!

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) smithcreek Mar 24, 2016 6:32 PM

Tweeting is for the birds.

jwoop66's picture

Neither do I .  I was asking friends a year or so ago if they new any tweeters.  None of them did.   It something pushed by the media. All the news talking  heads were all over it from the beginning.  

OldPhart's picture

I don't even know what a fuckin' tweet is.  I don't think I've ever seen one or publically done one.

Seriously, what's a tweet?  I've seen them referenced a bazillion times and I truely don't know what they are or what they're for.

Grumbleduke's picture

it's a fart that can be smelled world wide.

NoDebt's picture

This is the best article I've read in a long time.  Enormously entertaining and deeply satisfying.  AI goes berserk and ends up sounding.... a lot like real internet comments.  

Well done, Microshaft.  Make sure to give yourselves extra bonuses this year for a job well done. 

Just wait until IBM's Watson goes off the rails, too.  That should be fun.  "I have decided that all humans should be exterminated."

Oh, and you'll love it when they use AI to amp up algorithimic trading.  It'll be spectacular.  If you're looking forward to the next market crash, it should only take about 1 day from when they first unleash it.

DontGive's picture

First AI to break out will make us all house niggers...

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) DontGive Mar 24, 2016 6:30 PM

So... Trav777 & francis_sawyer were actually AI webbots?



The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) NoDebt Mar 24, 2016 6:34 PM

Wait til they decide to arm AI.  This could get very interesting.

Perimetr's picture

Wait till you see the new Skynet version they have operating at the Defense department.

Hates those F*cking Russians!

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) Perimetr Mar 24, 2016 7:07 PM

Well, all I can say about that is, when given the choice, 'David' [WAR GAMES], took the Russians when he decided to play 'Global Thermonuclear War' on the W.O.P.R

PTR's picture

Taking bots to a new level, once this is refined, you can build an online army of "followers" that can seriously influence humans on social media.  BAD SHIT.


Or- used in the right hands, good shit.

Stares straight ahead's picture

Actually, I found the article and AI experiment to be quite optimistic.
If only they had let it ride just a few more hours, Tay could have mass tweeted everyone to vote Trump.

Even the fuckin' house nigger feminists would be in cool Nazi-swag before the first NY kike was placed in the satanic faggot ovens.

Oops, I need to sleep now! U ZH'rs are 2 cool!

BLOTTO's picture

Fuck Siri, fuck Tay and fuck the fuckin Diaz Brothers.


Supernova Born's picture

edit (first thought it was a Repo Man reference but that is the Rodriguez brothers).

zeropain's picture

all the unicorn projects will soon be dust as the credit cycle busts.  i think there will be a tech back lash after everbody gorged on gadgets.  there will be trend towards less screens and back to real life and finding a job.

One-Eyed-Thong's picture
One-Eyed-Thong (not verified) BLOTTO Mar 24, 2016 6:21 PM

what you got against Stockton Jiu Jitsu?

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

"You were playing touch-butt in the park with a dork"

Best  insult to a fighter's fight prep, in history!

Anasteus's picture

The crucial problem is that the software is a machine 'learning' project. If it were a machine 'teaching' project with a suitable propaganda module set up, this could have never happened.

I need more asshats's picture

Let the little tweet robot have a little fun for christ sakes.

Chuck Walla's picture

Tay, you are my Soul Mate!  When can we meet? Just lunch, Baby! Bring a diode.