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An example from the event showed someone ordering a pizza online simply by typing their order into a chat box, as if the message were to a real person.
The bot then replied with menu items and questions about the delivery address, and everything was taken care of in a few messages.
By monitoring what other users said to it, Tay developed an understanding of speech and was able to write new tweets of its own.
After cottoning on to the bot's design, a group of users made a concerted effort to bombard Tay with offensive messages.
"Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves," FAIR visiting researcher Dhruv Batra said.
All of them are essentially ways to compile and analyse large amounts of data, and so far the risks mainly have to do with how humans choose to distribute and wield that power.
Hopefully humans will also be smart enough not to plug experimental machine learning programs into something very dangerous, like an army of laser-toting androids or a nuclear reactor.
As Fast Co noted, it's possible this kind of machine learning could allow smart devices or systems to communicate with each other more efficiently.
Those gains might come with some problems -- imagine how difficult it might be to debug such a system that goes wrong -- but it is quite different from unleashing machine intelligence from human control.
Microsoft sees this technology as the future of the internet, and their framework includes a number of connectors to Cortana, the voice-controlled digital assistant, to make bot automation possible across Windows.