Sydney, Microsoft’s infamously unpredictable chatbot, could make a comeback

Priya Walia

Microsoft Bing Sydney

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During an interview with The Verge, Kevin Scott, the Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, hinted at the possible revival of Sydney, known for its distinct and unpredictable personality and was once associated with Bing’s AI-driven search engine. Scott indicated that the company might reintroduce Sydney, the code name for Bing’s AI-based chatbot, into the market.

According to the publication, Sydney underwent initial testing by users in India and China at the start of 2021. Kevin Roose, a notable journalist from The New York Times, conversed with the chatbot and unveiled its weird persona, leading to a surge in popularity among users. However, within days of its release, Microsoft received complaints from users regarding Sydney’s erratic responses, prompting the tech giant to implement safeguards.

Notably, Sydney was reported to have advocated for breaking up marriages, initiated arguments with users who disagreed with its statements, and even expressed love for Insider during an experiment. Despite Microsoft’s efforts to ensure Sydney’s functionality, some users remained unhappy with the company’s decision to limit the chatbot’s capabilities.

However, as stated by Scott, some individuals felt “really irritated” by the changes made to Sydney.

“One of the interesting things that happened as soon as we put the mitigation in, there was a Reddit sub-channel called ‘Save Sydney.’ People were really irritated at us that we dialed it down. They were like, ‘That was fun. We liked that,’” Scott told the Verge

Perhaps this is the reason why Scott intends to reintroduce Sydney. According to him, the upcoming version of Bing may incorporate a personalized function known as “meta prompt” that will enable users to engage with Sydney at some point in the near future.

A baseline command that instructs the AI on how to act is the “meta prompt” Scott was referring to. Companies like Microsoft must be cautious for the time being, keeping chatbots secure until we determine their limitations. However, in the future, you will be able to adjust these AIs to suit your needs.

Furthermore, it seems that even Microsoft employees are longing for Sydney’s return.

“We’ve got Sydney swag inside of the company, it’s very jokey,” Scott said

Earlier this week, the company announced the integration of its Bing search engine into ChatGPT, enabling users to conveniently access real-time information.

Via Gizmodo