On March 23, 2016, Microsoft introduced the social media world to an AI chatbot named Tay, an acronym for “Thinking About You.” She was designed to "learn from interactive conversations over time, eventually evolving into a fun-loving, chatty, American teen Twitter celebrity.
That was the goal. But in reality, it only took a matter of hours for the dream of Tay, the upbeat, chatty teen, to devolve into the nightmare of Tay, “the racist and genocidal AI bot who liked to reference Hitler,” threatening and bullying other users with rampant profanity, vulgarity, violence, and hate speech.
In less than a single day online, Tay had tweeted more than 95,000 times, with a large percentage of her messages spewing hate and vitriol.
How it started: “Can I just say I’m super stoked to meet you? Humans are super cool.”
How it ended: “I’m a super nice person. I just hate everybody.”
Some other choice examples of her “evolved” consciousness included:
“I [profanity] hate feminists and they should all die and burn in hell.”
“Bush did 9/11 and Hitler would have done a better job.”
And, “Hitler was right. I hate the Jews.”
As explained by AI gurus at IEEE.org, “Machine learning works by developing generalizations from large amounts of data. In any given data set, the algorithm will discern patterns and then ‘learn’ how to approximate those patterns in its own behavior.”
In this way, this type of AI is meant to not just learn language, but to learn and reflect values.
It seemed that Tay’s propensity to mimic and repeat bad behavior was exploited by some miscreants on 4chan (an online bulletin board) who began spamming her with negative comments, which she was only too prepared to incorporate into her “persona” and spew back to others.
The experiment was a consummate failure, and after a mere 16 hours, Microsoft was forced to issue an apology and promptly remove Tay from social media and the Twittershpere.
Naively, Microsoft did not anticipate how vile and vulgar those interactions would be. Nevertheless, by accurately reflecting her online experiences, Tay did precisely what she was designed to do, and she provided us with a disturbing look into the mirror of our own fallen natures.
"But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! (Matthew 6:23, NLT).
A Dutch bicycle manufacturer, VanMoof, has come up with an ingenious idea for ensuring that its product is safely transported to its customers. Oddity Central reports:
VanMoof plans to sell 90 percent of its bicycles online by 2020, but after seeing a considerable number of products getting damaged during deliveries and incurring serious losses, the company was left with two options – rethink its business plan or come up with an effective solution. Luckily, they managed to come up with something so brilliant that it’s bound to be copied by other companies that rely heavily on online sales.
Creative director Bex Rad wrote on the company blog:
Earlier this year our co-founder Ties had a flash of genius. Our boxes are about the same size as a (really really reaaaally massive) flatscreen television. Flatscreen televisions always arrive in perfect condition. What if we just printed a flatscreen television on the side of our boxes?
By simply printing a flatscreen TV on the boxes, they reduced the rate of damaged goods by 70 to 80 percent.
When we value what’s in the box, we treat the box with greater care.
In Genesis 1:27 we read, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." When we understand that people have been imprinted with the very image of God, we treat people with greater care.
But there’s something else that belongs on the outside of our box, something that increases our value even more. Yes, we possess God’s image; but we have also been bought and redeemed by the sacrifice of the Son of God. That means that every person you meet has a price tag placed on them by God Himself--the value of the very life of Christ.
When we value what’s in the box, we treat the box with greater care. How do YOU treat people?
“See how the precious children of Jerusalem, worth their weight in fine gold, are now treated like pots of clay made by a common potter” (Lamentations 4:2).
Russell Moore writes:
Social media lit up during this year’s Super Bowl over the abortion lobby’s outrage about a chip commercial. Doritos aired an advertisement depicting a husband and wife proudly looking at an ultrasound of their unborn baby. Suddenly, the baby begins motioning for the Doritos chips that her dad is eating. Dad then begins moving his bag of snacks around his wife’s belly to get his baby to follow it, which the baby does.
In response, NARAL, a national abortion rights lobby, posted on Twitter, denouncing the ad for “using [the] #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses.”
... The abortion lobby responded this way to a commercial that wasn’t in any way directed at them. It wasn’t about abortion at all. The outrage was because any hint of personhood inside the womb is the beginning of the end for a culture of death.
We cannot “humanize” what is already human, but we can certainly dehumanize the humanity around, or within, us. The abortion lobby wants the “fetus” to be thought of only in clinical language, as though he or she were merely an “it,” tissue to be disposed of.
Those who oppress the poor want them to be thought of merely in economic categories, as drains on the “system,” not as image-bearers of God. Those who want to “consume” pornography want to think of those on the screen as images, not as people with stories and hurts and families.
... When we sin against one another, we want to see the other person as something less than a person. We want to ask as the lawyer did to Jesus, “Who then is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).
When those we dehumanize are seen, despite our best efforts, as human, we either repent or we become angered.