Microsoft prez: Taylor Swift threatened to sue over 'racist' chatbot

Ceria Alfonso
Setiembre 11, 2019

If you don't remember TayTweets, it's the Twitter chatbot that turned racist.

Taylor Swift primarily had an issue with the fact that Microsoft had named their chatbot "Tay" which Swift apparently thought was similar to her name.

Although the whole incident of Swift trying to sue took place almost three years ago, it resurfaced and came to the limelight after Microsoft president Brad Smith's new book "Tools and Weapons" mentioned this incident.

Tay was controlled by artificial intelligence and was created to learn from conversations held on social media, by interacting with 18 to 24-year-olds online.

According to "Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age", which Smith co-wrote with Microsoft communications director Carol Ann Browne, the dust-up was centered around Microsoft's 2016 introduction of a chatbot in the USA that it named "Tay". However, shortly after it launched, it posted on the TayTweets Twitter account to say it supported genocide and didn't believe the holocaust happened, causing the company to take it offline less than 18-hours after it was made live.

"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'".

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"'The name Tay, as I'm sure you must know, is closely associated with our client'", he writes. "No, I actually didn't know, but the email nonetheless grabbed my attention".

According to Smith, it was revealed that the popstar's lawyer accused Microsoft of violating federal and state laws by misleading the association between the chatbot and the singer.

Taylor and her legal team are pretty strict on people who come too close to the singer and her intellectual property rights.

Just before the record was released she successfully filed to make sayings like "this sick beat" and "nice to meet you, where you been" trademarks. In 2015 she threatened Etsy users with legal action over the use of her name on home-made products and merchandise.

This hasn't been the first copyright-related incident for Taylor Swift.

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