Microsoft cracks down on Bing Chat sharing its feelings

Microsoft Logo with Open AI logo on phone
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Bing has become rather reluctant to share its feelings anymore. After previously causing quite a stir by revealing its name to be Sydney and urging one user to leave his wife, it is now keeping things strictly professional. 

When one Bloomberg reporter asked if she could call the Chatbot "Sydney," it responded with the rather blunt “I’m sorry, but I have nothing to tell you about Sydney, this conversation is over. Goodbye.” This is a major shift in Bing’s ‘personality’ and reflective of Microsoft's new no-fuss approach.

This comes on the back of previous changes implemented earlier this week to stop the chatbot from going off the rails. First, Microsoft limited sessions with the new Bing to just 5 ‘turns’ per session and 50 a day (later raised to 6 and 60) explaining in a blog post that “very long chat sessions can confuse the underlying chat model in the new Bing.” And building on from this, Microsoft is also introducing different ‘Chat Tones’ that will alter how it deals with requests; the first three tones will be Precise, Balances, and Creative and will provide different styles of answer. 

Fun and games aside it is good to see that Microsoft is accepting the responsibility that comes with a tool like the new Bing. It provides a service that relies on producing accurate information for millions of people and some of the errors it has served up could be dangerous if they went live to the public. 

Where did Sydney come from? 

After revealing itself as Sydney, many speculated where the name had come from, as despite appearances, the new Bing is an AI and does not have the personality required to pluck a name out of thin air.

In a statement to Gizmodo Microsoft revealed that “Sydney is an old codename for a chat feature based on earlier models that we began testing more than a year ago.”

Microsoft also provided a further explanation as to how it built the new Bing that reveals it actually could have a new name: Prometheus. It explains Prometheus is actually “a first-of-its-kind AI model that combines the fresh and comprehensive Bing index, ranking, and answers results with the creative reasoning capabilities of OpenAI’s most-advanced GPT models.”

The new Bing (and its Prometheus model) is learning and improving every day with the input of users; just don’t call it Sydney. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer – VPN

Andy is Tom's Guide Staff Writer for VPNs and privacy. Based in the UK, he originally cut his teeth at Tom's Guide as a Trainee Writer (go and click on his articles!) before moving to cover all things Tech and streaming at T3. He's now back at Tom's Guide to keep you safe online, and bring you the latest news in VPN and cybersecurity.