Microsoft prez: Taylor Swift threatened to sue over 'racist' chatbot
WENN - World Entertainment News Network
September 10, 2019
September 10, 2019 11:28 AM EDT
Taylor Swift allegedly tried to sue Microsoft over a chatbot which posted racist messages on Twitter – because its name was similar to hers.
Tay was controlled by artificial intelligence and was designed to learn from conversations held on social media, by interacting with 18 to 24-year-olds online. 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.
And in his new memoir Tools and Weapons: The Promise and The Peril of the Digital Age, Microsoft president Brad Smith writes the Shake It Off singer filed papers against the company in 2016 – not because of what the bot said, but because its name was similar to hers.
Microsoft’s Brad Smith addresses shareholder during Microsoft Shareholders Meeting December 3, 2014 in Bellevue, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
“I was on vacation when I made the mistake of looking at my phone during dinner,” he penned, according to the Guardian. “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 name Tay, as I’m sure you must know, is closely associated with our client’,” he adds. “No, I actually didn’t know, but the email nonetheless grabbed my attention.”
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He goes on to add the lawyer argued that the name Tay violated federal and state laws and “created a false and misleading association between the popular singer and our chatbot.”
Taylor is known for threatening action against those who infringe upon her intellectual property rights, having trademarked her name, signature and initials, as well as lyrics from her album 1989. She is yet to respond to Brad’s claims.
Tools and Weapons: The Promise and The Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith was released on Tuesday.