Microsoft Research deployed a tween-simulating chatbot this week, only to recall it a few hours later because it had turned into a neo-Nazi, and the next day, they published a bewildered apology that expressed shock that it had been so easy for trolls to corrupt their creation.
But botherders and botmasters and botmakers around the Web had been facepalming almost from the first instant, as Microsoft -- which claimed to have taken many precautions to keep their bot in line -- had failed to undertake even the most basic of precautions that are well known in the field.
Sarah Jeong consulted with many of Twitter's most well-known botmakers and they all expressed their shock at Microsoft's bungling, explaining in simple terms how the disaster might have been averted.
To soften the potential negative impact on her audience, Olivia only replies to people who are following her—that is, tweeters who have consented to be tweeted at by a robot. But even then, Olivia has been a rather trying child.
“I had to tweak a lot of her behavior over time so that she wouldn’t say offensive things,” said Dubbin. “I would have a filter in place and then she’d find something to say that got around it— not on purpose, but like, just because that’s the way algorithms work.”
Most of the botmakers I spoke to do manually delete tweets that are offensive. But Dubbin seemed to do it more often. Maintaining Olivia Taters is an ongoing project. “It takes effort and policing at a small scale.”
Throughout the interview, Dubbin expressed shock at the sheer quantity of tweets that poured out of @TayandYou. The slower, hands-on approach he takes with Olivia would be impossible at the rate that @TayandYou tweeted at people. “It’s surprising that someone would be like, ‘This thing is going to tweet ten thousand times an hour and we’re not going to regret it!’”
How to Make a Bot That Isn't Racist
(Image: Dying Robot, Poof Proff, CC-BY-ND)
Google is downranking websites that use pejorative, racist terms like n*gger, so the awful people of 4chan and /pol/ are replacing that word with “google.”
It’s been more than 20 years since the publication of Making Book, Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s collection of essays, mostly drawn from the pre-online days of fanzines and letters columns; this year, in honor of Teresa’s stint as Fan Guest of Honor at Midamericon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, NESFA Press has published a second volume: Making Conversation, a collection of essays drawn from the online world on subjects as varied as moderation and trolling, cooking, hamster-rearing, fanfic, narcolepsy, the engineering marvels of the IBM Selectric, and more.
Someone — possibly the government of China — has launched a series of probing attacks on the internet’s most critical infrastructure, using carefully titrated doses of denial-of-service to precisely calibrate a tool for shutting down the whole net.
With the iPhone headphone jack having gone by the wayside, we’re excited about the addition of the FRANKLIN Bluetooth Headphones in our store. These headphones are foldable so they’re easy to carry around, but most importantly, they pack impressive sound. Our biggest struggle with Bluetooth headphones is the worry of them dying at the worst moment. This pair lasts an impressive 8-10 […]
Evan Kimbrell, founder of the digital agency Sprintkick, recently released a series of online courses that feature some of the best advice we’ve come across. These courses are well worth your time, and will save you from making many typical mistakes down the line if you ever want to start your own business.With this Business […]
Handy is the most convenient solution we’ve found for booking a house cleaning at the last minute, and they do a really great job. It’s as easy as heading to the site, selecting a date and time that works for you and the number of rooms in your home. We’ve even scheduled emergency cleanings as soon as the following day. […]