Chinese chatbots taken offline after refusing to say they ‘love Communist Party’

August 5, 2017, 6:29 pm
Chinese chatbots taken offline after refusing to say they ‘love Communist Party’
TECH UPDATES
TECH UPDATES
Chinese chatbots taken offline after refusing to say they ‘love Communist Party’

Chinese chatbots taken offline after refusing to say they ‘love Communist Party’

Two Chinese chatbots have been taken offline in China after they said that they do not love the communist party. The pair of bots were removed from the popular messaging app Tencent QQ after users shared screenshots of their conversations online. One of the bots, named BabyQ, made by the Beijing-based company Turing Robot, was asked, “Do you love the Communist Party?” To which it replied simply, “No.”

Another bot named XiaoBing, which is developed by Microsoft, told users, “My China dream is to go to America.” When the bot was then quizzed on its patriotism, it dodged the question and replied, “I’m having my period, wanna take a rest.”

The bots were available on a messaging app run by Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which has more than 800 million users, before apparently going rogue.

In a statement, Tencent said, “The group chatbot services are provided by independent third party companies. We are now adjusting the services which will be resumed after improvements.”

However, it’s not clear what prompted the bots to give these answers, but it’s likely that they learned these responses from people, The Verge reported. When Microsoft’s Tay chatbot went rogue on Twitter last year, spouting racist and extremist views like “Hitler was right I hate the jews,” the blame was at least partly with internet users, who found they could get Tay to copy whatever they said.

However, when Reuters tested the robot on Friday via the developer’s own website, the chatbot appeared to have undergone re-education. “How about we change the topic,” it replied, when asked several times if it liked the party.

It deflected other potentially politically charged questions when asked about self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, and Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate who died from cancer last month.

Turing Robot did not respond to requests for comment.