Chatbots Gone Wild

Less than a week after announcing that it was going to be firing it’s staff and replacing them with an AI chatbot, The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is realizing that chatbot technology may not be as advanced as they originally hoped.

Shortly after bringing their new “Tessa” chatbot online, the NEDA was flooded with complaints about bad advice being given out by the chatbot, forcing the company to take the chatbot offline.

One user claimed that every single suggestion Tessa gave actually contributed to the development of her own eating disorder, and while NEDA officials initially dismissed the claims as lies, they were forced to eat their words when the user provided screenshots of her interactions with the chatbot.

Psychologist Alexis Conason also jumped into the fray, sharing her own screenshots of conversations with the chatbot on Instagram.

In her words, “Imagine vulnerable people with eating disorders reaching out to a robot for support because that’s all they have available and receiving responses that further promote the eating disorder.”

And while Tessa’s creator insists that its purpose was to provide limited responses aimed at teaching strategies to avoid eating disorders, it seems a little reckless to unleash this type of technology into the world without at least testing it out first.

Credit: NeonPulse

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