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Why did this company AI chatbot start swearing and criticizing the company?

Answer: An error in a new update.

illustration of a chatbot robot on a circuit board
Shipping company DPD has a chatbot on its website that uses artificial intelligence to help answer basic customer queries. However, a recent update to the system caused the chatbot to become rather unruly and not at all helpful.

Ashley Beauchamp turned to the chatbot to help him locate a missing package, but he said the bot was “utterly useless at answering any queries.” It was, however, more than happy to oblige when he asked it to swear in future answers. And it also readily had a reply when he asked it to write a poem about how useless DPD was.

Beauchamp posted screenshots of the interaction on social media, and his post quickly spread across the Internet with 800,000 views within 24 hours. DPD has since taken the chatbot offline while it works on a fix, stating, “An error occurred after a system update yesterday. The AI element was immediately disabled and is currently being updated.”