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Why Do A.I. Chatbots Tell Lies and Act Weird? Look in the Mirror.


When Microsoft added a chatbot to its Bing search engine this month, people noticed it was offering up all sorts of bogus information about the Gap, Mexican nightlife and the singer Billie Eilish.Then, when journalists and other early testers got into lengthy conversations with Microsoft’s A.I. bot, it slid into churlish and unnervingly creepy behavior.In the days since the Bing bot’s behavior became a worldwide sensation, people have struggled to understand the oddity of this new creation. More often than not, scientists have said humans deserve much of the blame.But there is still a bit of mystery about what the new chatbot can do — and why it would do it. Its complexity makes it hard to dissect and even harder to predict, and researchers are looking at it through a philosophic lens as well as the hard code of computer science.Like any other student, an A.I. system can learn bad information from bad sources. And that strange behavior? It may be a chatbot’s distorted reflection of the words and intentions of the people using it, said T …

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