Artificial Intelligence: Gaffe by Microsoft’s Robotic Editor at MSN

The AI software illustrated a story about Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall (on the left) with an image of her band-mate Leigh-Anne Pinnock (right).

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has egg on its face after an AI software deployed in replacement of human editors at MSN mixed up images of mixed-race members of the band Little Mix. (The Guardian)

The robotic editor ran band member Jade Thirlwall’s personal reflections on racism using the picture of her colleague Leigh-Anne Pinnock.

Around end-May, Microsoft told approximately 50 journalists that their contracts, scheduled to expire June 30, would not be renewed. According to The Seattle Times, Microsoft intended to replace the human news production contractors by artificial intelligence software.

Little Mix’s Thirlwall not amused

The goof-up at MSN had Thirlwall up in arms. Fresh from her attendance at a recent Black Lives Matter in London, she vented her exasperation with Microsoft in an Instagram post.

It read:

“@MSN If you’re going to copy and paste articles from other accurate media outlets, you might want to make sure you’re using an image of the correct mixed-race member of the group.”

“This shit happens to @leighannepinnock and I ALL THE TIME that it’s become a running joke,” she said. “It offends me that you couldn’t differentiate the two women of color out of four members of a group … DO BETTER!” at odds with its own robots

Now, this is really interesting. The Guardian claims that MSN staff were told to delete any story that the robotic software would pick from The Guardian relating to the above incident. That could include the Little Mix image mixup and alleged racist bias.

It appears that the robot editor decided that stories in other publications on the MSN mixup at Little Mix were very interesting and published them. Unfortunately, the human staff had to delete these stories.

MSN also told them to do the same if the robots ran with The Guardian story.

However, that’s not the end of it. The hapless human staff was also told that the robots might try to overrule the deletion and publish it again.

Related Story: Microsoft Sends Contracted Journos Packing; Deploys AI Software Instead                                                  

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