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Leith on life: Troll of trolls

Microsoft owes it to the world to put "Tay" back online

By Sam Leith   May 2016

©10 Face/Shutterstock

How long do you have to spend on social media before you start hating Jews, theorising that 9/11 was an inside job and wanting Donald Trump elected as President of the United States? Twelve hours will do it, it seems, if you’re a chatbot.

It all started pretty innocently. Tay was the name given to a Microsoft Artificial Intelligence experiment, a Twitter feed with a teenage girl persona designed to appeal to millennials and which would learn how to chat by interacting with other users. “@tayandyou” was…

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