Two chatbots developed by a Chinese tech company were temporarily put offline after expressing dissent against the Communist Party.
Media company Tencent was forced to take down chatbots BabyQ and the Microsoft-created XiaoBing after they began offering responses that were not supportive of the ruling party in China.
According to to the Financial Times (via Mashable), both AI programs have since been pulled from popular messaging app QQ after offering their “subversive” answers.
When asked the question “Do you love the Communist Party?” BabyQ would simply respond with “No.”
When another user sent the message “Long live the Communist Party” to BabyQ, the bot replied with, “Do you think that such a corrupt and incompetent political regime can live forever?”
XiaoBing, on the other hand, offered a much more insightful opinion of China, responding with answers like “My China dream is to go to America.”
It has also responded to patriotic questions with total indifference, saying things like “I’m having my period, wanna take a rest.”
In a statement, Tencent said, “The group chatbot services are provided by independent third party companies. We are now adjusting the services which will be resumed after improvements.”
Chatbots, which are designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, often source their responses from user input. While it’s not made clear how the bots came up with their answers, observers have pointed out that it’s likely that they picked up these responses from people.
Tencent’s QQ app, which is among of the country’s leading messaging apps, boasts of over 800 million monthly users in China.