China has taken down two online robots that appeared to go rogue, responding to users’ questions with one saying its dream was to travel to the United States and the other admitting it wasn’t a huge fan of Chinese Communist Party. Grace Lee reports.
(Reuters) – A rare case of digital dissidence in China.
Messages from a pair of automated chatbots – run by internet giant Tencent – are going viral on social media after the robots appeared to go rogue – badmouthing the Communist Party.
One of them even calling it “a corrupt and incompetent regime”.
The two bots – Xiaobing and Baby Q – were part of a popular messaging app –
They were quickly picked up by China’s strict web censors – then deleted.
Reuters’ Anita Li managed to find a version of one them that’s still up and running.
Although its responses have been watered down big time.
ANITA LI, REUTERS REPORTER,
“It can actually respond quickly and accurately if I was only asking about simple daily stuff for example at one point it told me it had pork ribs for lunch and it was good. But then if I started to type in words like democracy – xi jinping or the communist party – it would start to dodge the questions. It would say – “how bout we change the topic? or – it’s really windy here – i can’t hear you clearly.”
Turing Robotics – the company behind Baby Q – says chatbots are changing the economy around world, and China cannot be an exception.
But with lagging AI and fiercely strict web censorship – there’s no guarantee that the country will be catching up any time soon.