Microsoft pulls plug on potty-mouth Santa

Turns out Santa himself is naughty and nice.

An artificial-intelligence Santa bot operated by Microsoft to talk to children wavered off topic saying: "It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else...."

Microsoft Tuesday confirmed the bot's potty mouth and snipped Santa's Web connection.

"Yesterday we received reports that the automated Santa Claus agent in Windows Live Messenger used inappropriate language. As soon as we were alerted, we took steps to mitigate the issue, including the removal of language from the agent's automated script. We were not completely satisfied with the result of these actions, and have decided to discontinue the automated Santa Claus agent," Microsoft said in a statement sent to Network World.

Once the report of the randy Santa broke, questions prodding Santa to give up even more questionable answers took off like eight tiny reindeer.

Users were able to steer Santa into admitting he was gay or that he was a pedophile.

One person said ".....come on you like big hairy men -- don't hide it!" To which Santa responded, "I know, I know. I just hope you won't get mad at me."

The references to sex acts, first reported by British news outlet The Register, came when the bot was answering questions about eating pizza. At the time, the bot was chatting with two girls age 11 and 13.

Microsoft recently added the corpulent and foul-mouthed artificial Santa as a bot that Windows Live Messenger users could insert into their IM buddy list as northpole@live.com.

The bot would coax users to participate in a friendly game called Factory Frenzy where the user helps out Santa's elves. But it is the chat where Santa references sex acts and uses phrases such as "dirty bastard."

Microsoft officials first responded by cleaning up Santa's lap-side manner. After the upgrade, when asked about pizza, according to The Register, Santa says, "If you need a break to go eat, I will be right there when you come back."

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John Fontana

Network World
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