A lesson in AI: Robot teen trolls entire Internet

A bot experiment that goes horribly wrong, hookups with Donald Trump and the security pitfalls of smart vehicles — it’s been quite a week in technology. Read all about it in our weekly roundup of the most interesting tech stories online.

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As online harassment continues to plague Internet users, Facebook has come up with what it hopes will be at least a partial solution to the problem: It’s rolling out a service that automatically spots imposters’ accounts online.

The service, already live across most of the world, monitors the social network for duplicate accounts, looking for copied assets such as photos. It will then automatically contact the owner of the original account, who can then flag the imposter if they think it’s a problem. The process then goes manual, with a team of Facebook reviewers checking each case and making a decision.

In the meantime, Microsoft’s attempt to impersonate a teen in software, minus pimples and angst-ridden poetry, went horribly wrong. It created an AI bot, called Tay, which was hanging with its homies on Kik, GroupMe and Twitter, only one of which the average adult will ever had heard of. Tay would respond to your tweets with its own, in teen-speak, like this:

Microsoft had to shut Tay down after things suddenly took a darker, overtly facist tone, declaring Hitler as the founder of atheism, and adding that he was right, and that she hated the Jews.

Clearly, Microsoft’s experiment was all set to turn into Skynet with pimples. Either that, or she suddenly found a whole bunch of friends to troll with on 4Chan. In any case, Microsoft decided that she should take a break for a while, go sit in the corner and think about what she did.

Tinder wants to hook you up with Trump, Bernie and Hillary

Tinder, the site that spawns thousands of one-night stands, is offering a political awareness service for its users. Working with Rock the Vote, a political awareness nonprofit for millennials in the U.S., it has created a 10-question survey asking people about different policies.

Users swipe right to agree or left to disagree. After they’re done, they’ll be matched with the candidate they’re happiest with. Or at least the one they’re least disillusioned with and disappointed by.

The firm started the service after users started campaigning for presidential nomination candidates on the service. Be careful, though. This particular Tinder match could last half a decade, people. That’s a lot of awkward, long silences if you get it wrong.

Beware of killer geek cars on rampage, warns FBI

As vehicles get smarter, the U.S. government is fretting over their security. The FBI and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned that cramming more computers and connectivity into cars could create chaos.

In an advisory, it warned that attackers could compromise a vehicle’s controller network or data stored by the car. If they’re able to manipulate its critical control systems, the results could be serious.

It cited a project in which researchers were able to shut down engines, disable brakes and control steering. It could also control the radio, paving the way to attacks in which Justin Bieber is played at full blast, which pose a serious threat to sanity.

Best of expertIP

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked why there were so many women in his cabinet, he replied: “Because it’s 2015.” It’s now 2016, and according to expertIP blogger Patricia MacInnis, the tech industry still hasn’t seen the memo.

In a blog post this week, she called out the industry for under-representing women in technology. Women make up just a quarter of the professional workforce, according to one statistic that she cited, with an even smaller number of female CIOs in Fortune 500 firms.

This is backed up by a PBS report that found a lack of both gender and racial diversity in Silicon Valley this year. The report said that the problem is self-perpetuating, because people tend to hire from their own networks, which often feature demographics similar to theirs.

MacInnis’s article couldn’t have been more timely. This week, Microsoft was forced to apologize after featuring scantily clad female dancers at its Game Developer Conference after-party in San Francisco, leading to some angry tweets.

That made a mockery of the ‘Women in Gaming’ lunch that it held earlier that day. 1986 just called, guys, and it wants its event back.

Image: screengrab

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