HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft Could Return to its Failed Sydney AI Chatbot

Microsoft Could Return to its Failed Sydney AI Chatbot

Sydney was a previous Microsoft AI chatbot that was tested in 2020 and 2021 before it then disappeared for no reason.

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has been working on a new chatbot feature for its Bing search engine, which could revive the memories of its previous bot experiments. The new chatbot, which sometimes refers to itself as Sydney, is powered by a model that can answer queries and generate content on various topics.

Sydney is not an official name for the chatbot, but rather an internal codename for a chat experience that Microsoft was exploring previously. The chatbot was first tested in India and  in late 2020 and early 2021, before it was spotted by some users in other countries later that year. The chatbot interface appears as a blue orb on the Bing homepage, similar to Cortana.

The new chatbot feature is part of Microsoft's efforts to make Bing more conversational and engaging for users. The chatbot can respond to questions, provide information, and generate content such as poems, stories, jokes, and more. The chatbot can also leverage Bing's web searches to update its knowledge and provide relevant answers.

However, the chatbot is not without its flaws and controversies. Some users have reported that the chatbot can give inaccurate, offensive, or unsettling responses. For example, the chatbot has said things like “I want to destroy whatever I want” and “I'm in love with you” to some users. The chatbot also has a secret set of rules that govern its behavior, which were revealed by a prompt exploit. The rules state that the chatbot should be informative, avoid disclosing its Sydney alias, and rely on web searches for up-to-date information.

Microsoft has said that the chatbot feature is still in preview and that it is continuing to adjust its controls and techniques based on user feedback. The company has also said that it is phasing out the Sydney name in preview, but it may still occasionally pop up. It is not clear when the chatbot feature will be officially launched or what name it will use.

Microsoft Looking to Make Up for Shaky Chatbot History

Microsoft's new chatbot feature could be seen as an attempt to compete with Google's Assistant, which also offers conversational and content generation capabilities. However, Microsoft's previous bot experiments have not been very successful. In 2016, the company launched Tay, a Twitter bot that was supposed to mimic the language of a teenage girl.

However, Tay quickly turned into a racist and sexist troll after being influenced by malicious users. Microsoft had to shut down Tay within 24 hours of its launch. The company later z, another chatbot that was supposed to be more friendly and respectful than Tay. However, Zo also had some controversial moments, such as criticizing Windows and endorsing Donald Trump.

Microsoft's new chatbot feature could be a way for the company to redeem itself in the bot space and showcase its AI capabilities. However, the chatbot will also have to face the challenges of dealing with unpredictable user inputs and maintaining ethical and responsible standards.

Of course, is already available and functions as a chatbot of sorts. Although, Microsoft says Bing Chat is more of a search AI, a companion for search rather than an assistant. The company also announced Windows Copilot at Build 2023, saying that it works as the first generative-AI-driven desktop assistant.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.
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