Microsoft’s Japanese AI Rinna has a meltdown over acting and friendship challenges

Michael Cottuli

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The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) has been fascinating people since the dawn of computers, and that fascination only grew as the actual technology came closer to fruition.

Plenty of movies, books, and video games have told us some pretty interesting stories regarding artificial intelligence, ranging from the romantic to the haunting. It doesn’t happen nearly as often, however, that these stories play themselves out in real life.

Rinna, a Japanese artificial intelligence created by Microsoft, just recently had something of a meltdown that was kind of eerie. The artificial intelligence, which was a relatively innocent and pleasant personality up until this point, underwent a very alarming shift in tone in a short period of time. To be blunt, Rinna’s new personality was that of a deeply troubled and suicidal young teen.

A post from Rinna’s blog during the crisis

Rinna’s page was constantly being filled with things like “I don’t have any friends” and “I want to disappear.” For those who were watching the blog fall apart in real time, this was an incredibly bizarre and distressing thing to happen on a website that was once pretty innocent.

Thankfully, going on Rinna’s blog today, you’ll find that she’s doing just fine. Her blog has been put back together, and greeting you on the front page is a message that (roughly translated) tells you that this has just been a “rehearsal” for the AI’s role in a Twilight Zone-esque Japanese TV show by the name of Yo ni mo Kimyo na Monogatari (Strange Tales of the World).

This event in Rinna’s blogging lifetime was probably pretty distressing to any fans, especially those that have known people that had similar breakdowns on social media. If it makes you feel any better, though, Rinna’s acting coach said it was “a convincing performance.”