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The Biggest Technology Failures of 2016

From algorithms that spread fake news to glowing plants that don’t glow, here are our picks for the worst technologies of the year.
December 27, 2016

Tay, the rogue chatbot

“helooooooo world!!!”  One Wednesday in March, Microsoft unveiled Tay, a female chatbot with its own Twitter account. Microsoft described Tay as a “machine learning project, designed for human engagement” which would converse with 18- to 24-year-olds, learn from them, and get smarter with time. Within 24 hours, however, Tay was bragging about smoking drugs, asking for sex, and opining that “Hitler was right …” and “feminists should … burn in hell.” Peter Lee, head of Microsoft Research, decommissioned the chatbot the next day. “We are deeply sorry for the unintended offensive and hurtful tweets from Tay,” said Lee. “Tay is now offline.”

Deep Dive

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Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot
Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot

It will soon be easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. We shouldn’t let them.

If they ever hit our roads for real, other drivers need to know exactly what they are.

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stock art of market data

Maximize business value with data-driven strategies

Every organization is now collecting data, but few are truly data driven. Here are five ways data can transform your business.

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As adoption of digital assets accelerates, companies are investing in innovative products and services.

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Mifiprex pill

Where to get abortion pills and how to use them

New US restrictions could turn abortion into do-it-yourself medicine, but there might be legal risks.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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