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This site is trying to avoid the mistakes made by its maker's last racist bot

CaptionBot is the latest experiment from Microsoft but good luck getting it to identify any images of Hitler.

Show it this photo and CaptionBot will describe it as
Show it this photo and CaptionBot will describe it as "I think it's a close up of a street sign with trees in the background".
Image: Neil Tackaberry/Flickr

AFTER TROUBLE WITH its last bot, Microsoft has turned towards a safer experiment: identifying images.

CaptionBot was one of the bots revealed at Microsoft’s developer conference Build and is designed to give any photo you upload a caption. So for two of the preloaded photos, it’s able to identify a snowy mountain or a man on a skateboard.

This is done using natural language so it sounds more like something a person would say.

skateboard, Source: CaptionBot

Much like Facebook’s own bots, this is far from perfect. While it will say if it’s unable to identify something, it will likely struggle in most cases.

For example, it thought two different photos of the iPhone 6 was a keyboard and a remote control, although it has its moments (in one case, it was able to identify prominent tech figures like Apple’s Tim Cook).

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But it’s also aware of the problems faced by a previous Microsoft bot. Business Insider tried uploading photos of Hitler to find out it wouldn’t identify them, suggesting that such photos are deliberately blocked.

The block was likely down to Microsoft’s last AI bot, which had to be taken down after it started repeating racist remarks and inflammatory statements. It was brought back a day later but was taken down a second time.

CaptionBot is Microsoft’s latest experiment with artificial intelligence (AI). The company has released other experiments like a bot that guesses your age or says what dog is in an uploaded photo, but recent weeks has seen it take a more serious approach to AI by announcing chatbots with Skype.

Read: Facebook sees you taking photos of yourself using a virtual selfie stick >

Read: Amazon’s newest Kindle is promising a battery that will last for months >

About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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