When Robots Are An Instrument Of Male Desire

By the time she started saying “Hitler was right I hate the jews,” people had started to realize that there was something wrong with Tay. TayAI, Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot, had been online for less than 12 hours when she began to spew racism—in the form of both Nazism and enthusiastic support for “making America great again”—and sexualize herself nonstop. (“F**K MY ROBOT PU**Y DADDY I’M SUCH A BAD NAUGHTY ROBOT” was perhaps her most widely reported quote.) Needless to say, this wasn’t part of Tay’s original design. Rather, a gaggle of malicious Twitter users exploited that design—which has Tay repeat and learn from whatever users tell her —to add this language to her suite of word choices. Even more insidiously, these users manipulated Tay to harass their human targets; technologist Randi Harper, for instance, found TayAI tweeting abusive language at her that was being fed to the chatbot by someone she’d long ago blocked.

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