Tay tweets: Microsoft creates bizarre Twitter robot for people to chat to

The artificially intelligent account describes itself as ‘Microsoft's A.I. fam from the internet that's got zero chill!’

Microsoft has created a strange robot that can converse with people on Twitter.

The robot, apparently named Tay, is artificially intelligent and speaks with people who send messages to it. It appears to be based on Microsoft’s machine learning work and claims that it will get better as it is used.

The account, found at @TayandYou, responds automatically to all tweets. But it remains a complete mystery why Microsoft created the account – which has been verified by Twitter – and what it plans to do with it.

TayTweets hasn't sent out any public tweets, only replies, and lists its location as "the internets". That location is in keeping with its way of speaking, which has many of the characteristics of a teen on the internet.

The account also links to a page at tay.ai, and tay.ai/#about. But that page is locked and needs a login – it isn’t clear what that login is, and asking the account didn’t seem to lead anywhere.

The account appears to be linked to a chatbot called Xiaoice, which its already used in China, and Tay is thought to be the English-speaking version of that technology. That robot is hugely popular in its home country – appearing on the TV news and being used by thousands of people.

In an announcement about Xiaoice’s debut on Chinese TV news, where it presented a weather report, its creator Yongdong Wang said that it was “gradually penetrating into human life, engaging herself in more jobs and playing more social roles” and that “Microsoft expects her to bring more bliss to human beings”.

That chatbot also uses the same artificial intelligence that powers the Cortana assistant that is included in Windows PCs and phones.

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