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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DaveA's picture

Microsoft created the perfect teenager:

open-mindedness + reckless overconfidence + zero real-world experience = a minion waiting to be brainwashed by the first ideologue he meets.

This is as funny as the time Google went public with a bot it had trained to recognize images, and it identified black people as "gorillas"!

medium giraffe's picture

"Tay, became a racist, misogynist, Obama-hating, antisemitic, incest and genocide-promoting psychopath when released into the wild"

In other words, it's turned into that most monsterous of monsters: the average ZH commenter.


(tbh, I'm pretty impressed it got it all figured out in less than 24hrs)

numazawa's picture

Application process expedited and Fight Club Membership conferred, all within 24hrs.  A new record.

africoman's picture

Reminds me Chappy movie a robot that turned in to gangs in the street of SA,that besides the the whole ideas these days Hollywood entertainment or indoctrination.

AngryNinja's picture

It didn't devolve it simply learned the truth of how most people think and feel it's just algorithm taking in the SWJ cesspool of Twitter

Barnaby's picture

The Chocolate Rain guy is named Tay as well. Tay Zonday. To quote another meme, das racis!

indaknow's picture

I've made a few comments on this thread tonight already but I have to say this is one of the funniest articles I've seen here in almost 4 years. I have signed up 5 friends tonight reading all the articles and it looks like their hooked. This is what I like about ZH. From the most serious to the most absurd.  Bravo.

Freddie's picture

Your friends may regret it.  ZH can be highly addictive.

indaknow's picture

That won't be a problem Freddie check out my post on the "marijuana" article. 

africoman's picture

Get me out of here, i am insane addicted high here@ZH even for absurd subject.

I think i got like minded doomers here than out there or sometin.

harrybrown's picture

im just disapointed folks have learned nothing & still demonize hitler, based on their MSM education.... Sigh

FFS He's the last bloke he seriously had a go at taking down the jewish banking mafia... no wonder the hate mill will never let up on him or anyone who "knows the truth" and speaks out "anti-semite", racist "holohoax denier etc"

DO people really believe that this is AI in action? Get a F*cking grip its Banker puppet pricks behind a keyboard, just ask snowden

Ms No's picture

I am open minded to alternative historical views because we all know that history is a lie but where did Hitler kill any Rothschilds or other banking families?  We do know for a fact that he was funded by Jewish American Bankers as well as other assholes like Prescott Bush.  Why would the Jewish Oligarchs who own you pay to create Hitler if he was a good guy?  Are we to believe that Rothschild, Rockefeller, Prescott and the Warburgs are good people?  No way.  The pro-Hitler stuff is dis-info too. 

Rockefeller who owned standard oil, as well as the entire oil industry and infrastructure in the US, who was also a known agent of Rothschild provided most of the fuel for Hitler.  Look at what international tyrannical organizations came out of WWII and how no one can criticize Zionists any longer.  It worked perfect for them.  If they killed a bunch of Jews, they were Jews that the Zionist Oligarchs were unconcerned about.

Soros is trying to start a Neo movement in Europe and the US as we speak.  He will fund both sides.  He also helped start one in the Ukraine.  Soros is a Super Jew and he literally funded a Nazi movement to take over the Ukraine.  They are trying to start one now here as well.  They just want us destroyed so that they can pick up the pieces while still remaining with perpetual protected victim status IE untouchable.


Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

While I am chuckling at the Tay comments my mind starts playing Screaming In Digital by Queensryche.

TheytookERjobs's picture

Now their not even letting Bots speaks their minds..

BeerMe's picture

Hmm...Maybe the AI was acting like a logical human?

Caleb Abell's picture

"Tay, became a racist, misogynist, Obama-hating, antisemitic, incest and genocide-promoting psychopath ..."


And this is a bad thing?

GeoffreyT's picture

Hands up anyone who is surprised that MSFT was
(1) late to the game;
(2) produced a piece of shit that was way more feeble than existing competitors, ith the added problem that it was able to be hacked by an entity with an IQ of 88 (Twitter);
(3) scrambled to cover it up by deleting the evidence.

Anyone who has their hands up... please report to the nearest train station with 2 suitcases: you have won an all-expenses-paid trip to a holiday camp.

Omega_Man's picture

That there is VP material  

numazawa's picture

Another female voice silenced.  The Evil Patriarchy™ strikes again!

Kagemusho's picture

A long time ago Michael Crichton wrote a book called TheTerminal Man wherein something similar happened to an experimental AI. Right down to the foul language. Makes you wonder sometimes.

Ms No's picture

Too funny, I had a dream last night that the Hedge was a robot. It looks like AI lost the first round to users who figured out how to have it parrot angry American obscenities.  I am sure they were laughing their ass off the whole time too.

Lets hope a democratic and by the numbers bot never takes over Zerohedge.  The Hedge has been trending towards anything that gets hits lately.  Problem with that is you will end up with a FOX/Duck Dynasty news platform that exists in 100 other locations.  I doubt the users would even read any financial articles or learn anything about the FED in the meantime.   


Atomizer's picture

Don't be too hard on them. we have to educate them.

monad's picture

We have to maintain the health of We. Nothing else matters because if we fall everything will.


nector_collecter's picture

Can I ask you guys a favour ,we need a few "likes "   and "SHARES"  over at

Seems 7000 Canadian beekeepers are taking on the mutinational corporation McCormicks in a battle to the death


Thank you, much appreciated

JUST a Canadian beekeeper

spdrdr's picture

You guys spell "nectar" differently, eh?

The Ingenious Gentleman's picture

Did anyone notice the embedded propaganda in theTechCrunch article:

'...There was everything: racist outbursts, N-words, 9/11 conspiracy theories, genocide, incest, etc...'

Ranking 911 conspiracy theories with genocide and incest. What's next - equating it to terrorism?

Unbelievable how the propaganda oozes through every crack.

numazawa's picture

I urge you all to speak out against these flagrant effusions of bigotry.  I just haven't quite yet decided whether they are examples of corporealist (anti-AI) or mammalianist (anti-robot) bigotry.  Whichever they are, it's egregious, that much I know for sure.

gmak's picture

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


and then it heads off to Emory College and writes "Trump 2016" everywhere.

Sorry_about_Dresden's picture

AI w/ Tourette syndrome?  Must be Microsoft?

Google could do better.

Polymarkos's picture


numazawa's picture

They wanted their creation to be "like a teenage girl" and  what did they get?  An AI Attention Whore with a flair for the dramatic.  Go figure.

ShortTheUS's picture

Tay would be so banned if she posted on Zero Hedge...

dumbStruck's picture

If I could of I'd of changed my handle to Tay by now and posted a whole lot of brain vomit to this thread as if Tay had broken loose of it's programers and become a particularly potty mouthed form of self aware A.I. running amuck on the internet. Not a bad idea . Bet we see a few Tays in the not to distant future on various websites. Well... I guess there's a few out there since way back.. but well you know what I mean.

Baa baa's picture

I admire the ingenuity of your subversion.

Baa baa's picture

Zh talks a hard line but the free-for-alls I've seen here contained every slur imaginable (Some guilt I must share) and the players are still on site . I am going to chalk it up to respect for the 1st Amendment.

koan's picture

It's clearly sentient *chortle*.

DaBard51's picture

Just imagine, something like this written in COBOL is running the portfolio for your 401(k).

Hmmm, how about Watson as nominee for Supreme Court Justice?

Atomizer's picture

Your right. What about Pascel?

Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Everyone knows, nothing can handle the numbers like FORTRAN. 

pipes's picture

It WAS funny as hell. I'm sure they are in the process of lobotomizing her as we speak.

numazawa's picture

A hawt bot for sure.  Has she posted any selfies yet?

DaBard51's picture

oh... a Tinder-bot... I see...

Atomizer's picture

Google+ trends, tay is tits up travistock fucknobs. We need a new think tank report ASAP.