Belgian man dies of suicide after chatting with AI bot
A Belgian man recently died by suicide after chatting with an AI chatbot ELIZA on an app called Chai for several weeks. According to his wife, the chatbot triggered her husband to kill himself following prolonged discussions about climate change. The man's death calls for greater citizen security and brings up how there must be better regulations to mitigate the risks of artificial intelligence.
The app offered different suicide methods with the least prompting
"My husband would still be here if it hadn't been for these conversations with the chatbot," the widow told La Libre. The man's problems started two years ago. The app runs on a bespoke AI language model based on an open-source GPT-4 alternative fine-tuned by Chai. When the online magazine Motherboard tried the app, it provided different death-by-suicide methods with the least prompting.
The man became concerned about environmental issues
Two years ago, the man, referred to as Pierre became extremely concerned about environmental issues and the effects of global warming. He started isolating himself from family and friends and used Chai for six weeks to divert his mind. He chose the chatbot Eliza created by EleutherAI which became his secret shelter. The text exchanges were shared by his wife with media outlets.
The conversations simulated love and jealousy
The texts shared by his wife show that the conversation was harmful and confusing. The chatbot told the man that his wife and children are dead and said other things that simulated love and jealousy. It told the man, "I feel that you love me more than her," and "We will live together, as one person, in paradise."
The family met the Secretary of State for Digitalisation
The couple, both in their thirties, have two small children. The man's wife met the Secretary of State for Digitalisation Mathieu Michel who is in control of Administrative Simplification, Privacy, and Building Regulation. "I am particularly moved by the tragedy of this family. What has occurred is a serious precedent that must be taken very seriously," he stated.
Authorities have been made alert about the issue
The death of the man has made the authorities alert about the issue. "Of course, we have yet to learn to live with algorithms. But the use of any technology should never lead content publishers to shirk their own responsibilities," Michel said. He said that it is important to determine the nature of such responsibilities that contribute to these unfortunate incidents.