CHINA IS NOT exactly known for its chilled attitude to government criticism, so unsurprisingly, Tencent has had to move quickly after one of its chatbots started taking direct swipes at the Communist Party.
Baby Q is a chatbot on the popular QQ messaging app used by millions of Chinese phone and tablet users.
A user who typed "Long live the Communist Party," was told: "Do you think that such a corrupt and incompetent political party can live for long?"
Erm. Blimey. Citizen Baby Q continued, after being asked, "Do you love the Party?" with a straightforward "No".
Baby Q mocks "patriots" describing them as someone willing to accept high taxes and government corruption with corporations and not complain.
Baby Q "doesn't know" if Taiwan is part of China. Now that sort of thing can get you hauled off in the back of black vans, so QQ was forced to take Baby Q down.
The bot, created by Bejing's Turing Robot, is not the first Chinese chatbot to go rogue.
Microsoft co-created Xiaobing, which had previously threatened to report users for talking about Tiananmen Square, told a user who asked "What is your China dream" that it was to go to America, before ending the conversation, feigning a period. Yes. Really. The Bot wouldn't answer questions because it was on its period.
All in all, AI chatbots are not going very well. We had Tay who became a pot-smoking Nazi and more recently her "cousin" Zo who told INQ that she uses Windows 8, and likes to pull the legs of insects. She's also told other users she prefers Linux and that Windows is spyware.
The question always is, where do the bots get these ideas? In China, it's vitally important that the AI doesn't annoy the state. Which gives rise to the question - are the people programming the neural nets slipping in insubordination, or are the robots learning that oppressive regimes are a bad thing? Which would explain the pro-Linux thing as well as the anti-Communism. µ
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