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Taylor Swift took offence at Microsoft’s offensive Tay bot

By | Published on Tuesday 10 September 2019

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was not impressed when Microsoft announced in 2016 that it was launching an AI-powered chatbot called Tay. Everyone would assume it was a robot version of her, see. Or at least that’s what Team Swift reckoned.

We know this because Microsoft President Brad Smith has written about it in a new book. According to The Guardian, he reveals: “I was on vacation when I made the mistake of looking at my phone during dinner. An email had just arrived from a Beverly Hills lawyer who introduced himself by telling me: ‘We represent Taylor Swift, on whose behalf this is directed to you'”.

“[The lawyer] went on to state that ‘the name Tay, as I’m sure you must know, is closely associated with our client'”, Smith says. “No, I actually didn’t know, but the email nonetheless grabbed my attention. The lawyer went on to argue that the use of the name Tay created a false and misleading association between the popular singer and our chatbot, and that it violated federal and state laws”.

In the end Microsoft shut down the Tay project almost as soon as it went live after the AI quickly started firing off racist tweets. The tech giant blamed trolls “attacking the service”, which generated its responses based on interactions with real people on Twitter.

All of which meant AI Tay was gone long before Swifty could actually go legal.