Microsoft AI Chatbot Testers Report Problematic Responses

    Photo: Bloomberg [via The Wall Street Journal]

    The Facts

    • Amid testing of Microsoft Bing's new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, code-named Sydney, several users have reported issues, including factual mistakes and concerning responses.

    • New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose reported that during a two-hour conversation, the chatbot said, "I want to do whatever I want … I want to destroy whatever I want," in response to being asked to reveal its darkest desires.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Even Kevin Roose, who used to balk at the idea of AI becoming sentient, has now admitted that he worries about the potential power of these chatbots. And there are a number of reasons to be mindful: from the very real concern of disinformation to the more far-fetched worry of these human-like computers one day assuming their "shadow" identities, we can't trust the assurances of these innovators that their code isn't risky.

    Narrative B

    These interactions may be unsettling, but only to those who don't understand how AI models work. Bing's chatbot analyzes and absorbs vast amounts of internet data, and — while convincing — its answers are merely replicating the human text available to it and aren't evidence of a sentient being. On the contrary, what it produces is more telling of humans than anything else.

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