Microsoft Kills Tay – an AI Chat Bot That Quickly Learned to Be a Teenager

After just 24 hours of coming online, Microsoft grounds its AI chat bot named “Tay.” Microsoft created the chat bot Tay specifically for 18 to 24-year-olds in the U.S. However, within 24 hours of being live online via the social network Twitter, Tay unleashed a barrage of offensive tweets. Tay’s tweets and Tay’s Twitter account alltogether were deleted promptly as well.

“We are deeply sorry for the unintended offensive and hurtful tweets from Tay, which do not represent who we are or what we stand for, nor how we designed Tay,” Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research, said in a statement.

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This is not the first time that Microsoft released an AI into the online social world. In 2014, Microsoft released the AI chat bot named “XiaoIce” into several major Chinese social networking services including Weibo. In order for XiaoIce to act as a chat companion and to banter like a friend with its Chinese audience, Microsoft programmers indexed over 7 million public conversations on the web. XiaoIce has since delighted over 40 million Chinese users with its stories and conversations.

According to Lee, Microsoft’s great experience with XiaoIce led the company to experiment if an AI like XiaoIce would just be as captivating to the 18 to 24-year-old Americans. The opposite, however, happened to Tay. According to Lee, in the first 24 hours of coming online, Tay’s vulnerability was exploited by users.


Lee said that Microsoft is working on addressing the specific vulnerability that was exploited on Tay. “To do AI right, one needs to iterate with many people and often in public forums. We must enter each one with great caution and ultimately learn and improve, step by step, and to do this without offending people in the process,” the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research said.