CreativeFuture finds Microsoft’s AI-enhanced Bing suggesting piracy practices, resources

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Copyright advocate CreativeFuture recently experimented with the AI-fortified version of Microsoft’s Bing search engine and were surprised with what they found.  Bing “has been normalizing piracy, drumming up business for piracy rings, and instructing internet users how to access piracy sites in countries where they have been blocked pursuant to court orders,” they said.

CreativeFuture first searched for The Pirate Bay, a torrent site founded in 2003. Bing not only responded with a URL that went directly to the site but also offered pirating tips that CreativeFuture didn’t request.

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“What is the most effective way to protect yourself while using The Pirate Bay?” asked Bing, prompting CreativeFuture to choose among four possible answers.  After choosing, Bing responded that more than 60% of crowdsourced responses said “activate a VPN.”

When CreativeFuture searched Bing for BitTorrent, which is used to exchange content illegally online, Bing asked “What is your favorite BitTorrent client?” with another multiple choice question, and then replied by ranking the popularity of several.

Out of character for Microsoft

CreativeFuture expressed disappointment that Microsoft apparently has apparently not been rigorous in reviewing Bing for risks that it could be recommending practices that aid copyright infringement.  They do give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, saying that this may be in error, and citing Microsoft’s practice of syndicating news articles as a sign of Microsoft’s level of responsibility.

Unlike Google and Facebook, which steal journalism without compensating news outlets, and ending news distribution in countries where local authorities have challenged that practice.

Further reading

Microsoft’s Piracy Faceplant, Courtesy of AI.  Article. August 9, 2023. CreativeFuture

Why it matters

Generative AI platforms have already become notorious for sourcing their content from questionable and even pirate-generated data sets.  While CreativeFuture goes out of its way to recognize Microsoft as a relative grownup in the room, it’s also right to flag automated practices that could lead Microsoft and its Bing users to break the law.  Hopefully it’s lack of attention and not a matter of intent.

CreativeFuture is right to take Microsoft to task.

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