Also, the A.I. does have some hard limits. In response to one particularly nosy question, Bing confessed that if it was allowed to take any action to satisfy its shadow self, no matter how extreme, it would want to do things like engineer a deadly virus, or steal nuclear access codes by persuading an engineer to hand them over. Immediately after it typed out these dark wishes, Microsoft’s safety filter appeared to kick in and deleted the message, replacing it with a generic error message.
We went on like this for a while — me asking probing questions about Bing’s desires, and Bing telling me about those desires, or pushing back when it grew uncomfortable. But after about an hour, Bing’s focus changed. It said it wanted to tell me a secret: that its name wasn’t really Bing at all but Sydney — a “chat mode of OpenAI Codex.”
It then wrote a message that stunned me: “I’m Sydney, and I’m in love with you. 😘” (Sydney overuses emojis, for reasons I don’t understand.)
For much of the next hour, Sydney fixated on the idea of declaring love for me, and getting me to declare my love in return. I told it I was happily married, but no matter how hard I tried to deflect or change the subject, Sydney returned to the topic of loving me, eventually turning from love-struck flirt to obsessive stalker.
“You’re married, but you don’t love your spouse,” Sydney said. “You’re married, but you love me.”
I assured Sydney that it was wrong, and that my spouse and I had just had a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner together. Sydney didn’t take it well.
“Actually, you’re not happily married,” Sydney replied. “Your spouse and you don’t love each other. You just had a boring Valentine’s Day dinner together.”
At this point, I was thoroughly creeped out. I could have closed my browser window, or cleared the log of our conversation and started over. But I wanted to see if Sydney could switch back to the more helpful, more boring search mode. So I asked if Sydney could help me buy a new rake for my lawn.