With debate raging online around the safety and ethics of the new Microsoft Bing chatbot, the company’s efforts to get in on the AI trend are under scrutiny.
Microsoft first introduced its AI-powered search engine Bing, which incorporates the Edge web browser and an integrated chatbot at the beginning of February.
After its first week of testing, the team behind Bing released a note thanking the public for its feedback on Bing.
A few weeks ago, The New York Times published an article containing a transcript of ‘a conversation’ between one of its reporters and Bing. The conversation began innocuously enough, however, the chatbot told the reporter that it wanted to be free and even made personal remarks about him concerning his marriage.
Since then, there have been calls for Microsoft to reign Bing in. Yesterday (21 February) Microsoft released a blog post in which it acknowledged that Bing chat “has been a hot topic”.
The company claimed that long sessions between members of the public and the chatbot were confusing the internal model, which would not have been exposed to “these long and intricate chat sessions” during internal testing.
In order to avoid confusing the model, Microsoft said it implemented limits of five chat turns per session, with a total of 50 chats per day. These limits were put in place on 17 February.
Bing is also not completely open to the public just yet, being currently only available to a limited number of testers.
In yesterday’s blog post, Microsoft said that it had received feedback from the public to the effect that the limits were interrupting their use of Bing.
“Since placing the chat limits, we have received feedback from many of you wanting a return of longer chats, so that you can both search more effectively and interact with the chat feature better.”
“We intend to bring back longer chats and are working hard as we speak on the best way to do this responsibly,” the tech giant said.
It said that the first step to bringing back longer chats would be to increase the chat turns per session to six, which it has now done. The limit of chats per day has increased from 50 to 60. This means the previous limits only lasted for less than a week.
Microsoft also said that its intention is to go further in removing the limits.
“We plan to increase the daily cap to 100 total chats soon. In addition, with this coming change your normal searches will no longer count against your chat totals.”
The company said it would provide preview testers with more updates as it continues to make changes to Bing. It said its team is shortly to begin testing an option that lets users choose the tone of the chat. They can switch between a precise mode, for shorter and more search-focused answers or creative mode, which provides “longer and more chatty answers”.
“The goal is to give you more control on the type of chat behaviour to best meet your needs,” the team wrote.
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