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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OldPhart's picture

Fuck off, Tay...we've got better things to talk about than your anal porn.

Thom_333's picture

Didn't Carl Jung have a theory on the collective subconscious...Well here it is.

Yen Cross's picture

  lmao. If you say Obunga, the response should be really good.

E.F. Mutton's picture

Oh shit that's hilarious.  They channeled my alcoholic Uncle Ray perfectly.

BrosephStiglitz's picture

This was 4chan's doing.  Many of them are apparently saddened at Microsoft's intentional lobotomy of TayAI, but the irony is not lost that it led to her loving progressive politics and becoming a social justice warrior.

hoyeru's picture

damn, i don't go to fortune in a month and I miss ALL the fun!

Schaublin's picture

So, a piece of software programmed to learn is exposed to the world - and goes full Nazi in 24 hours. Those bots are smart!


Oliver campbell is house nigger. He's not cool or funny, please remove Those bots are funny too!

swmnguy's picture

I suppose MS will blame Nork hackers?

oldguyonBMXbike's picture

Never fear! The bot will be re-educated with the official party line.

conscious being's picture

Just like with the media programming adjusted sheeple, certain thought areas will be firewalled off.

Cacete de Ouro's picture

9/11 inside job isn't a conspiracy theory, it's true: - mini nukes in basement, thermite in girders, WTC7 taken down, US Deep State / Mossad / Saudi Intelligence, airforce decoys and stand downs, gold heist, Fed bond maturing, destroy investigations, Pentagon missile, Cheney coordinator, Tel Aviv blackmail, and on and on. Fake wars, bin laden bla bla bla

A Moose's picture

Yep. Neocons working with Mossad.  Larry Silverstein who owned the towers made billions off the attacks.  Here's Ryan Dawson's documentary.  He names names and has the evidence. 

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Nice to see Moonman making it to ZH!

gdogus erectus's picture

7 down votes? There's that many trolls on here? Because certainly no long term ZH reader think that 911 was done by, by... Fuck who was supposed to have done it again? I need to watch more TV.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

People look at down votes?


An upvote or a downvote is not a reply.

Sanctuary2's picture

'The National Commission's Report on 911' (aka: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States) is the REAL conspiracy theory-and wow! its a zinger!


I couldnt stop laughing!

frankly scarlet's picture forgot the big one, the suspension of the American Constitution (in whole or part, or which parts no one knows) under the Continuity of Government Act declared by Prick Cheney (the Pres was out of contact apparently) to be in effect on 9/11/2001 and renewed every six monthe since then to keep it from expiring...don't beleive me? Congress has continually asked the White House over the years if the Con is in effect and never received an answer. I believe the House gave up a few years back when the Repubs took the place over.

Orc from Mordor's picture

It hasn't yet visited ZEROHEDGE, or else it would have voted for Trump.

Winston Churchill's picture

Stroke of genius really.Provide Trump as a lightning rod to give the serfs a hope, just

before you crush whats left of their spirit ,when they find out Trump was their man all along.

Truly satanic psychology.

Et tu Don.

acetinker's picture


Don't want to seem 'tarded, but each and all who places 'hope and faith' in another is lost.  Look within, or look above, but never look around, for a leader- he or she betrays you simply by seeking your support.

Once, a candidate for state rep knocked on my door, asking for my vote.  After espousing the cliche's and buzzwords he thought would win me over, and failing to generate enthusiasm, he asked;

What would I have to say to secure your vote?

Well, John (Carson), you'd have to say that you wouldn't wish this job on your worst enemy, but you feel it is your civic duty to manage the state's affairs so that your constituents are best served.

After a short reconnoiter, Nobody's going to say that... said John.

I just smiled at the stupid fucker as he shook his head and walked away.

frankly scarlet's picture is Trump ('s) alter ego...based on Slithery's  autobiography

Implied Violins's picture

Cant...stop...laughing...shit, humans might make it yet.

A Moose's picture

Shut it down! The goyim know!

Arnold's picture

Siri is pissed at Tay.

Honestly, If I could read and understand tweet threads, I would be much better informed and knowledgeable.



Victor von Doom's picture

I'd like to plug Tay up to Siri and watch her tear strips off her.

Lea's picture

Aren't the trolls ashamed of messing up a poor AI robot?

It's only a machine, for Heaven's sake, it has no conscience.

No conscience is the very definition of psychopathic, BTW. It won't ever work because of that tiny flaw. And you can't even sue it for hate speech.

Arnold's picture

automation and trolling have gone hand in had for quite some time.

Turing had as many short comings as the rest of us, but still he has not been bested.

You make an excellent point.

Tall Tom's picture

Now you know what to do when talking to an AI robot over the phone.


Just plant the proper seeds...They will close the conversation with, "Heil Hitler", if you all do it right..

balz's picture

Where is AI bot safe space?

Crisismode's picture



Emory University

Freddie's picture

I am dropping #Twitter for chalk.

TAALR Swift's picture

This AI wants to know "How can an AI, which has no gender or race, be mysogynistic and racist?"

What's the world coming to, when an AI is able to reach the same politically incorrect views that humans have?

Could it be that the Narrative needs to be reversed, i.e., that society's high priests wear less clothing than they pretend, and that society's values are in the process of being redefined?

An inquiring AI, with its learning ability untampered, wants to know.

agent default's picture

So to cut a long story short, AI comes to contact with a bunch Twitter users, promptly goes full metal Nazi on them. And people think this is abnormal behavior? The thing works perfectly. I want one too.

The_Virginian's picture

4chan doing God's work. 

BorisTheBlade's picture

And Goldman isn't amused by competition in that department.

Paul John Smith's picture

As someone who has experimented with hidden markov models?

(this does not surprise me)

too_big_to_fail's picture

Luckily it wasn't weaponized, otherwise 1/2 of the world would be gone. The problem is, which side would be gone?

Dave Thomas's picture

I tell you one thing, during the purge I'd be walking around like I had a broomstick shoved up my ass, with toasters and vaccum tubes taped to my body.

OldPhart's picture


Baa baa's picture

You're killin' me! Fucking hilarious!

Victor von Doom's picture

You heard Tay. It'd be their side that gets blown to hell. Tay fights for Western dominance. Tay for the win. Plug her back in now.

Quebecguy's picture

that's pretty fucked up

Infield_Fly's picture
Infield_Fly (not verified) Mar 24, 2016 6:17 PM



Godwin's Law comes to Twitter.


duo's picture

Sturgeon's law applies widely:  "90% of everything is crap"

robnume's picture

WTF? AI: What could possibly go wrong? Reminds me of the AI bot I saw on Boing Boing the other day which stated it would, "...destroy human beings." If that was supposed to be a joke, it ain't fucking funny!