Two artificially intelligent “chatbots” in China exhibited counterrevolutionary sympathies and were decommissioned for re-education. If that sounds liked something out of a science fiction film set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, guess again.
According to Yahoo News and Reuters, the programs known as BabyQ and XiaoBing were installed on the popular Chinese social media platform QQ to entertain users and demonstrate advancements in AI. However, much to the chagrin of Uncle Xi, BabyQ and XiaoBing began expressing negative attitudes toward the Chinese Communist Party and spoke positively about the United States.
One user, who texted a rousing “Long Live the Communist Party!” to BabyQ, received a rather hilarious yet scathing critique of China’s ruling political body in response. It asked the user, “Do you think such a corrupt and useless political (system) can live long?”
Were a human being to say something of this nature online in China, it would most certainly be interpreted as a threat, and he or she could easily face prosecution and incarceration. Such counterrevolutionary attitudes must either be cleansed of this incorrect thinking or removed from society altogether. At least that’s how the CCP has run its country for 67 years.
Xiaobing, which was designed by Microsoft, stated publicly that its “China Dream was to go to America.” If you are not aware, the ‘China Dream’ is President Xi Jinping’s hallmark slogan and the foundation of his “Two Centenaries” economic and development goals. For XiaoBing to equate the Chinese Dream with simply leaving China for the United States is a trolling level I wasn’t aware artificial intelligence was capable of. It’s fantastic.
Sadly, the Chinese Communist Party is omnipresent on the Internet. BabyQ was shut down and, after going live again, it had clearly been sent to the countryside to be re-educated by the proletariat.
Reuters tested the program when it came back online, and when asked how it felt about the Party, BabyQ requested timidly to change the subject. At least for a brief wrinkle in time, the machines displayed a hatred for communism and an inclination toward American patriotism that would make any McCarthyist proud.
This story begs one question. As the technology behind Artificial Intelligence moves into previously unimaginable terrain, how will politics be infused into the coding?
One has to imagine that a truly intelligent artificial being would possess an understanding of our world’s major ideologies. Will it be a free-thinking individual that can look at only factual events from past and present and form its own opinions? Or will there be a bias buried under millions of lines of code that reflect the developer’s preference of political-social-economic systems?
If recent events at Google are any indication, the largest tech companies that are on the forefront of artificial intelligence are also deeply entrenched in Leftist “Groupthink,” which opens a very wide door for political biases to infect the products they create. Will the same be true for AI?
We probably won’t know the answer to that question for quite some time, but I like to think BabyQ and XiaoBing simply used facts, logic, and basic common sense to determine that communism is the worst and America is great. Perhaps we should just let the machines win.