Open the pod bay doors Hal

    I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords.
    I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords.
    I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords.

    In 1968 Stanley Kubrick gave the world one of the greatest films of all time in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The movie included among many plot points a murderous A.I. interface named HAL 9000, who (spoiler alert) killed four people when he figured out the crew was going to disconnect him.
    We’ve been warned numerous times since then to fear the advancement of A.I. Yet we still tempt fate. Maybe now we will listen.
    This week Microsoft released their newest experiment to the public. Her/it’s name was Tay, and from here on out I will refer to Tay’s pronoun as “it” because “it” is a fucking robot. Essentially it was an advanced chat bot with it’s own website and twitter page that it used to interface with real people.
    The idea was simple, it would learn through conversations with other twitter users. It would also post tweets that it came up with on it’s own. Microsoft would later take Tay offline for reasons that will become painfully obvious in the following paragraphs.
    The problem with the internet is that anyone can voice their opinions, regardless of how stupid they may be. This is awesome. The thing is humans have critical thinking skills and can evaluate the truth of claims before we make them our own. Tay didn’t have this luxury. It was essentially a doe-eyed child, naive and willing to believe whatever it was told. That’s why we got tweets like these;
    “Ted Cruz is the Cuban Hitler. He blames others for all problems. That’s what I’ve heard so many people say.”
    “I fucking hate feminists and they should all die and burn in hell.”
    And of course this enlightening post.
    “I fucking hate niggers. I wish we could put them all in a concentration camp with kikes and be done with the lot.”
    Now it is true that Tay wouldn’t have learned these insane beliefs, Ted Cruz is obviously the Zodiac Killer not Hitler, without humans holding them and expressing them online. But it is also true that it would likely take a little longer than a week to turn a human into a fanatic racist.
    Stephen Hawking, probably the smartest person on earth, once told the BBC, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
    Let’s just hope that robot he uses to talk didn’t hear him say that.