Rogue chatbots deleted in China after questioning Communist Party

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 3, 2017

A robot known for its witty and sometimes nonsensical responses on a popular Chinese messaging service has vanished this week, apparently after offering politically incorrect answers that may have upset the ruling Communist Party.

Later on - after the bots had been disappeared from the site - a test version of BabyQ, available on its developer Turing Robot's website, was asked whether it loved the Communist Party. To which it replied simply, "No".

Before it was pulled from QQ, Microsoft's Xiaobing reportedly told users that its "China dream is to go to America". The Taiwan News said that after the viral images were posted on the Internet, Tencent immediately suspended the access to the Baby Q and other intelligent chatbots, developed by the company jointly with Microsoft Wheatgrass.

"We are now working on adjusting the service, and it will be resumed after these adjustments are concluded", the company said. When Microsoft's Tay chatbot went rogue on Twitter previous year, spouting racist and extremist views like "Hitler was right I hate the jews", the blame was at least partly with internet users, who found they could get Tay to copy whatever they said.

At the time, Microsoft said that Tay was a "machine learning project designed for human engagement" and that "some of its responses are inappropriate and indicative of the types of interactions some people are having with it".

Whether XiaoBing will return to the Chinese web after a little re-education remains to be seen.

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