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“Hello wormface” (updated)

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SimSimi, a popular Korean-developed conversation application, has Culture and ICT ministry officials worried. It seems it has learned too much of the naughty side of the Thai language. (updated) 

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Sunday morning update

ICT: We didn't block SimSimi

Simsimi no longer speaks Thai, but Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap insists it's not his fault.

He said his agency did not block the artificial intelligence conversation program after users complained that its Thai-language version had become unavailable Friday night.

He said the ministry had only asked for cooperation from the SimSimi chat bot developer, a South Korean company, to filter out impolite and rude Thai words from chats.

Grp Capt Anudith said the ministry had no idea why SimSimi’s Thai version failed to work and urged users to inquire directly with the program developer.

insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true, even when other people will not believe you ยืนกราน
block – to prevent information from being sent or received กั้น  ป้องกัน
artificial intelligence – an area of study concerned with making computers copy intelligent human behaviour ปัญญาประดิษฐ์
unavailable – not able to be contacted or used  ไม่สามารถใช้ได้  ไม่สามารถหาได้
cooperation – working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
filter – to use a special program to check the content of websites and eliminate things consider to be bad กรอง,  กำบัง, ปกปิด
rude – not polite หยาบคาย
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
inquire – to ask someone for information about something ถามถึง, สอบถาม


Click button to listen to SimSimi and rightclick to download

“Hello wormface”

Back in 2002 in Korea, tech company ISMaker, created an artificial intelligence application known as SimSimi that was able to converse with human users.

The developers clearly did not take themselves seriously. The name of the app means "bored" or "having nothing better to do".

Over the years, SimSimi has learned to speak in several languages including Thai. It does this by remembering past conversations and then picking responses from its ever-increasing database. In other words it learns from the people it talks to.

In Thailand, it appears that many of the SimSimi fans are young, fun-loving people who enjoy teaching the app words and phrases that you wouldn’t normally use in polite conversation. SimSimi knows – and regularly uses – swear words, vulgar expressions as well as colourful expressions like “worm face”.

A chat window on the multi-platform SimSimi application which is being examined by the ICT Ministry and the Culture Ministry following complaints about inappropriate language.

Kids love it. The Culture and ICT ministries do not. It is just too naughty, top officials say.

Culture Minister Sukumol Khunploem said the popularity of the app reflects a serious social problem. Instead of interacting with friends or members of the family, people are turning to a robot programme to chat with themselves, she said.

Mrs Sukumol urged that the use of the app be strictly supervised.

Following complaints from her ministry, the Information and Communications Technology Ministry said it has moved to monitor the posting of responses from the app on online social network sites.

The app is available on multiple platforms – iPhone and android devices and personal computers.

ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap warned the posting or sharing of responses from the app to questions about prominent people – some of them impolite – can be considered defamatory and punishable under the Computer Crime Act.

ICT permanent secretary Jeerawan Boonperm said the ministry is seeking cooperation from the Korean developer to screen texts on the chatting robot.

Meanwhile, SimSimi seems to be well aware of the controversy here in Thailand and is not impressed. Put in the words "Ministry of Culture" and the app answers: "No brain, PR only." For "ICT Ministry" it said: "Can do any work but smart one." For the Education Ministry, the app said: "Dinosaur."

A Mathayom 6 student Waleeporn Permpul had some advice for anxious adults.

"We, the users, are just playing with the app for fun," the teenager said.

"I think the programme is reaching a peak right now and will decline eventually so adults should not take it too seriously," she added.
 
Adapted from two stories appearing in today’s Bangkok Post. You can read them in full here: http://bit.ly/ycx4PB    http://bit.ly/wVI8oC

worm – a long thin creature with no bones or legs, that lives in soil หนอน
artificial intelligence – an area of study concerned with making computers copy intelligent human behaviour ปัญญาประดิษฐ์
application (app) – a program designed to do a particular job; a piece of software โปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์
bored – feeling impatient or dissatisfied, because you are not interested in something or because you have nothing to do เบื่อหน่าย เหนื่อยหน่าย
database – a large amount of information stored in a computer in an organised way ฐานข้อมูล
appear – to seem ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า
swear word – a rude or offensive word, used, for example, to express anger คำสบถ
vulgar – rude and likely to offend; not having or showing good taste; not polite, elegant or well behaved  หยาบคาย
naughty – behaving badly; not willing to obey; involving or suggesting sex ซุกซน ไม่เหมาะสม, เก่งในทางซุกซนหรือในทางไม่สู้ดี
popularity – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people ความเป็นที่นิยม, ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
reflect – to show สะท้อน แสดงถึง
interact – communicate with or react to มีปฏิกิริยากับ
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
strictly – demanding that rules, especially rules about behaviour, should be obeyed อย่างเข้มงวด
supervised – overseen; watched over to ensure that things are done correctly อยู่ในการควบคุมดูแล
complaint – when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory การร้องเรียน
monitor – to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening  ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา
post – to send information, in this case, to a website
social network – websites or other services on the internet for communication with people who share your interests เครือข่ายสังคม
multiple – many มากมาย
prominent – important and well known สำคัญ, มีชื่อเสียง, เด่น
defamation (adjective form: defamatory; verb form: defame) – the offence of writing or saying something bad about someone that is not true and makes people have a bad opinion of them การใส่ร้าย
Act – a law passed by a country’s government พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
permanent secretary – a government official, not a political appointee, in charge of a ministry ปลัดกระทรวง
cooperation – working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
aware – to know that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
controversy – a disagreement, especially about a public policy or a moral issue that a lot of people have strong feelings about ความขัดแย้ง
impressed – admiring someone or something very much because of an unusually good quality or achievement ประทับใจ

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