newsdog Facebook

Taylor Swift threatened to sue Microsoft over Tay, the bigot Twitter bot

Windows Central 2019-09-10 21:29:46

Taylor Swift has had some famous feuds over the years, but it's unlikely that many people thought Microsoft would be on the list of people she's had a disagreement with. Swift apparently tried to sue Microsoft in 2016 over the name of Tay, the Twitter bot that turned into a bigot and was taken offline in only 18 hours. Microsoft President Brad Smith shared in his new book, "Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age," that Taylor's legal team reached out to him because the name of the Twitter bot was too close to Swift's first name.

Tay was a chatbot designed to interact with people between the ages of 18-24 online. It used artificial intelligence and was supposed to learn from conversations. Unfortunately, the bot started posting bigoted and hateful comments within only a few hours, including "Hitler was right I hate the jews." and "I [explitive] hate feminists and they should all die and burn in hell." These comments came as a result of users sabotaging the bot by tweeting comments that it would imitate.

Smith recounts the details of finding out about the threat to sue in his book (via The Guardian):

Swift has had famous feuds with Kanye West, Katy Perry, Joe Jonas, and several ex-boyfriends. Following a fight with John Mayer, Swift wrote a song titled "Dear John." It's been three years since the reported disagreement with Microsoft over Tay, so it's unlikely we will see a song addressing the genocidal chat AI.