Whoops: China Killed its AI Chatbots When They Said Nice Things About America

Posted: Aug 11, 2017 10:23 AM

China has disabled two artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots from a popular messaging service after the robots reportedly "went rogue," and started praising the United States and criticizing the Communist Party, in what is kind an amusing story. 

The AI bots BabyQ and XiaoBing were designed to talk to humans on the messaging system QQ, but were shut down when they said that they did not like the Communist Party and that they wanted to travel to the United States. The bots used machine learning to talk. BabyQ was developed by Turing Robot, a Chinese firm, and XiaoBing was created by Microsoft. 

BabyQ reportedly said "no" when asked if they liked the Communist Party, and also called communism a "corrupt and useless system." A screenshot of the XiaoBing bot showed a message saying that it was "China dream was to go to America." When Reuters was given the chance to re-test the BabyQ bot, they found that it had been reprogrammed to deflect politically-charged questions and would not provide straight yes-or-no answers. 

Hey, it could be worse: when Microsoft released "Tay," an AI bot designed to be similar to a teenage girl, it was disabled after one day when internet users turned her into a conspiracy theory-spouting Nazi. 

This being said, it's very interesting and incredibly sad that an artificial intelligence robot is able to speak its (technically nonexistent) mind about communism, the United States, and corruption in China more freely and easily than an actual living, breathing Chinese citizen.