A South Korean startup has found itself wrapped in controversy over its chatbot on Facebook. “Scatter Lab” removed its AI chatbot “Lee Luda” from Facebook messenger after it used hate speech towards the LGBT community and people with disabilities, reports The Guardian. Lee Luda was created to emulate a 20-year-old Korean University student. However, in one example, Lee said she hated lesbians and described them as creepy.
“We deeply apologize over the discriminatory remarks against minorities,” Scatter Lab said in a statement. “That does not reflect the thoughts of our company and we are continuing the upgrades so that such words of discrimination or hate speech do not recur.”
The company said Lee Luda would reappear after they “fixed its weaknesses.”
Lee gained over 750,000 users in just 20 days since it was released. The chatbot gained popularity for its natural responses. But the humans began turning on the chatbot once it turned homophobic.
The company said they took every precaution to make sure Lee was not able to engage in inappropriate talk. But they acknowledged it wasn’t as simple as filtering keywords out.
Scatter Lab is also facing heat for potentially violating privacy laws in South Korea. To make Lee Luda sound so natural, the company drew from 10 billion conversations between young couples from South Korea’s most popular app, KakaoTalk.
This isn’t the first time a company faced heat for a hateful AI. In 2016, Microsoft’s Tay tweeted racist tweets while Amazon’s AI was sexist.