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A Russian-speaking virtual assistant briefly rips into Vladimir Putin

Meduza
12:53, 6 august 2018

Alice, the Russian-speaking virtual assistant designed by Yandex, has been purged of her surprisingly prickly opinions about Vladimir Putin. Users recently discovered that Alice gave the following response when asked “why Putin lies”: “This question is easy to answer: he knows no other way — it’s a habit. He landed in the Kremlin by accident, and he became president by accident.”

“Alice is in the know.”

When asked “why Putin is a thief,” Alice said, “According to rumors, Vladimir Putin’s wealth is at least $300 billion, but nobody knows for certain, of course. The fact that the newly elected president would steal was plainly evident from the incident with the unique ring Putin stole from an American businessman,” alluding to stories that Putin pocketed one of Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl rings in 2005. (Last year, Kraft asked Donald Trump to help him get back the ring.)

By the morning of August 6, however, Alice suddenly stopped answering questions about Putin. The virtual assistant now playfully evades these questions (telling users, “There’s no point in getting into this, trust me”) or she offers to perform an Internet search. When asked “Putin or Navalny?” Alice responds, “Generally speaking, I consider mentioning Navalny and Putin in the same paragraph, in the same context, to be an unscientific action.”

Yandex did not respond to Meduza’s calls about Alice’s unusual behavior. Russian Internet users have tried posing similar questions to Siri and Google Assistant, but to no avail.

Photo on front page: Pixabay