Xiaoice (Little Ice) is China’s most popular (artificial) intelligence
Remember Tay, the Microsoft Twitter bot largely known for its sexist and racist rants? Microsoft now has an even more successful bot that is taking the Chinese internet by storm.
XiaoIce, whose name translates into “Little Ice” in Chinese, is an incredibly boring chatbot developed by Microsoft’s Future Social Experiences Labs. Naturally, it has nearly 100 million followers. In fact, 89 million users have already professed their love. How cute.
Like everything else on the Chinese internet, Little Ice is available on the messaging app WeChat, where anyone can add her as a friend. Additionally, users can download an app off of the Google Play Store to interact with the bot. However, this doesn’t really make sense because the entire store is blocked by the Great Firewall. We wonder what % of the Chinese population uses a VPN service to get past it.
Advertised as an alternative to Siri or Cortana, Little Ice has the amazing capability of responding to your message by rattling off a completely unrelated or useless comment. If you want to order some food, Little Ice can tell you that you should ask a waiter. If you ask her if she agrees that “The Diaoyu Island Chain is an inseparable part of Chinese culture and heritage” she will call you a bad person. In fact, any sort of question results in a useless string of words that will make mid-2000s AOL bots look genius by comparison.
But Little Ice isn’t just an assistant. She’s also a friend. That’s why millions of Chinese netizens have been talking to her for the last two years. So can you if you’re interested in robots that refuse to acknowledge the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989.