Microsoft's AI Catches Heat For Tone Deaf Poll On Woman's Tragic Death

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Microsoft halted all of its AI-generated polls on news articles after the tech company caught heat for having a poll appear beside a story about a woman’s death. The poll ran within Microsoft’s curated news aggregator platform Microsoft Start, and asked readers what they thought of the woman’s death.

Artificial intelligence has been the talk of the town as of late. However, not all the talk has been positive. This was the case when it came to a recent AI-generated poll that many found disturbing. The poll was posted beside a story from the Guardian Medi Group about a woman who was found dead at a school in Australia.

Guardian CEO Anna Bateson wrote to Microsoft President Brad Smith, stating, “This is clearly an inappropriate use of genAI by Microsoft on a potentially distressing public interest story, originally written and published by Guardian journalists.”

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Microsoft addressed the incident, remarking, “A poll should not have appeared alongside an article of this nature, and we are taking steps to help prevent this kind of error from reoccurring in the future.” The tech company added that it had “deactivated Microsoft-generated polls for all news articles” pending an investigation.

Those who came across the poll quickly made their opinion known in the poll’s comment section. However, the rage was misdirected at The Guardian and the author of the article. Bateson urged Microsoft to add a note to the poll with the tech giant taking full responsibility for it. She also called for Microsoft to cease using experimental AI alongside Guardian news stories in the future.

The poll debacle comes on the heels of the Biden administration issuing an executive order addressing AI and the need to govern the technology. For those like The Guardian and the author of the article in question, reigning in big tech and its use of AI cannot come soon enough.