Microsoft Changing Everything: At Least What Daesh Means in Redmond

August 30, 2016

I reported that Microsoft’s chief envisioning officer (I love that title) asserted that artificial intelligence will change everything. I pointed out that Microsoft has not been able to “change” China. Now Microsoft has learned that it cannot change the meaning of the word “Daesh,” which is one of the names of the Islamic State. I read “Bing Translates “Daesh” As “Saudi Arabia”, Angers Entire Kingdom.” The write up points out:

Bing Translation of “Daesh” the Arabic acronym for a global terrorist group backed by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to “Saudi Arabia” has put the Microsoft Corporation in hot water with the Kingdom. Apparently, when the Arabic word


was typed into Bing Translate, the words “Saudi Arabia” would appear as the English translation, according to Khaberni. The so-called technical error caused an uproar in Saudi Arabia, where many Saudi social media users called for a boycott of Bing and Microsoft. The Microsoft Corporation has formally issued an apology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, calling the error “unintentional”.

In what seems like the blink of an eye, Microsoft rolled out the bot which quickly learned to be somewhat interesting. The bot rolled away. Then Microsoft made Windows 10 Web cam hostile. Now Microsoft’s smart translation system has managed to anger the nation state Saudi Arabia. I assume Microsoft’s professionals anticipate smooth, seamless processing when entering the Kingdom from the USA. Now let’s think about the “change everything” statement. Doesn’t seem exactly correct, does it? How about some snap inspections of luggage to brighten one’s day? What’s the word for that? Sheesh? Oh, tay?

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2016


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