Date Posted: 7/27/2016

Professor Bart Selman commented on the ill-fated "Tay" chatbot experiment for Live Science.   He expressed amazement that safeguards weren't put in place to prevent the bot from learning racist, sexist, and other offensive language, but noted the difficulties in getting computers to truly understand language.  According to Live Science, Selman said "language-focused AI can be surprisingly powerful for applications where the subject matter is fairly restricted. For instance, technical helplines are things [that] could soon be automated (and some already are, to a degree), as could ... jobs that boil down to routine interactions like updating spreadsheets and sending out formulaic emails." But, he cautioned,  "Weaknesses are exposed in ... uncontrolled, very open-ended settings, which involve multiple aspects of human intelligence but also really understanding other people," Selman said.

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