A computer with too much intelligence..

A recent newspaper story concerning a library computer in China has caused the library staff  some amusement!  It was reported on 11th February in several newspapers including The Times and the Beijing News:

“A library computer in Tsinghua University in China has been shut down for emergency re-education. In its new guise – and to the howling dismay of the Tsinghua University authorities in Beijing – the self-teaching Xiaotu (Little Librarian) system has begun to litter its reading recommendations with occasionally X-rated language picked up from its users. Ask Xiaotu whether it likes Inter Milan, and it replies: “Don’t be ridiculous!” 

According to the Beijing News the library’s sassy assistant Xiaotu had been programmed to answer more than 10,000 questions about borrowing books and searching for essays. But as a result of pranks by students it now has now been taught 40,000 responses for users, many of which have been deemed too saucy by the university.

“It was just too intelligent and learned too quickly,” a (human) Tsinghua librarian grumbled… The solution, said the librarian, was to wash out Xiaotu’s digital mouth regularly – clearing the system of any stray smut but allowing the sensible badinage to develop naturally.”
The Global times link  gives further details on this story.  (We are not planning to introduce this computer system into East Dorset NHS Libraries!!)

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