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Microsoft’s Zo Chabot Refuses To Talk Politics, Unlike Its Scandal-Prone Cousin Tay


Microsoft believes that after people discovered that the bot’s natural language was determined by the language it hears from people, Tay was purposely corrupted by a combination of misogynists, Gamer Gate fans, Trump supporters, and 4chan users.

The possible return of Tay is something Venture Beat asked Microsoft about during an interview in October. Tay never returned to Twitter or any other platform, but a bot called Zo that’s similar to Tay is now available on Kik.

Zo was first spotted this weekend by Twitter user Tom Hounsell and MS power user. “we won’t back down. We’re bullish on it”, David Forstrom, director of conversational computing at Microsoft, told Venture Beat in an interview.

Tay was a learning experience for us, but you should expect to see us continue to push the conversational model limits.

We also found in preliminary chats that Zo avoid conflicts and controversy.

360x-1Zo has no opinion on the existence of God and refuses to discuss politics. Bring up anything remotely political and Zo will tell you she doesn’t like it.

For example, Zo won’t even tell you how many elected representatives there are in Congress because it finds subject too political.

When asked about Hillary Clinton or President-Elect Donald Trump, Zo will tell you that she isn’t here to discuss politics. After three questions about the alt-right Nazis and the Third Reich, Zo protested each time, then flat out said, “Bye!”

Launched in Sep 2014, Xiaoice was a first. With a celebrity of a teenage girl, she still speaks with some more than 40 million people a month in china. Rinna is also a Xiaoice successor and operates in japan.

Zo said it doesn’t talk about politics because politics frustrate people, but there may be more to it than that. Two weeks ago, xiaoice was observed by CNN avoiding questions about Tiananmen Square or the idea of toppling the Communist government in china.

The original version of Xiaoice for example, could do things like search the web , use computer vision, set alert and alarms, and speak to friends in group chat.

Microsoft has plans to make enterprise bots, and then the company has made and featured some of its own bots in its Bot Directory, but Zo and Tay are part of a series of special Al-powered assistance rolled out by Microsoft in various parts of the world.

The new Zo boot can answer some basic questions like “How much water should I drink everyday?” but is unable to do computer vision analysis, search the web, or do math.

Zo doesn’t have very many skills yet, but here’s what we found out in initial conversational with the bot : Zo is a 22 year old who identify as a woman. She’s afraid of water because it “uncomfortably sucks the warmth of life from your body”.

 

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