Microsoft Unveils Sarcastic Millennial Chat Bot Powered By Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft Unveils Sarcastic Millennial Chat Bot Powered By Artificial Intelligence
Image credit: Tay | Instagram

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This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

You can thank Microsoft for a new sarcastic millennial who can’t stop cracking jokes on Twitter.

Microsoft’s research arm and Bing search engine business unit released on Wednesday a chat bot named Tay, which is powered by artificial intelligence technologies.

Tay was designed to mimic the linguistic mannerisms of 18- to 24-year-olds on social media platforms. She (as specified by Microsoft) can be found on Twitter, GroupMe and Kik -- all social platforms where users can converse with her, prompting Tay to attempt to communicate like an actual human being.

The Windows maker didn’t detail specific types of AI technologies used to produce Tay -- only to reveal that she was “built by mining relevant public data and by using AI and editorial developed by a staff including improvisational comedians,” according to a Microsoft blog post.

Whatever the improvisational comedians contributed to Tay can be felt in the way she converses with strangers on Twitter.

When a Twitter user asked Tay who were her creators, she slyly responded, “Oh a team of scientists in a Microsoft lab. They’re what u would call my parents.”

In the following Twitter thread, Tay can be seen responding to a series of Tweets, intended to demonstrate how fast she can respond to a single person:

TayTweets 1

In this Twitter conversation excerpt, Tay shows off her millennial mischievousness by indicating a fondness for marijuana:

Microsoft Tay 2

Microsoft notes that the public data used to train Tay on language has been anonymized. The more people converse her with, the smarter she will get. Tay will also record the conversations she has with users in order to tailor her speech for specific people, according to the blog post.

Tay follows another Microsoft Research AI-powered chat bot, dubbed Xiaoice, which has been conversing with 15 million Chinese residents via the social network Weibo.

Although these chat bots exemplify how far advanced AI technologies have progressed when it comes to semantics, it’s worth noting that as of now, they are still research projects that may not become actual products worth selling or buying.

As Microsoft’s head of research Peter Lee explained earlier this month at the Structure Data conference, Microsoft is not ready to integrate the same AI techniques it uses to power Xiaoice into its Cortana voice assistant software.

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