Kevin Scott, Microsoft’s executive vice president of AI, recently discussed the possibility of “Sydney” returning to Bing. In an interview with The Verge for its Decoder podcast, the executive also recalled how the public reacted to the company’s decision to mitigate the Sydney issue months ago, saying, “You want to be very, very sure that you have tested for before you go deploy a product.”
Bing Chat’s initial launch made a huge noise, especially when the bot started acting strange by delivering weird responses. It ranged from love confessions to threats and more. With this, Microsoft was forced to make significant changes to the chatbot and explained that long chat sessions were causing the bot to experience confusion. However, this was taken negatively by fans, who are demanding the company “free Sydney.” However, Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott seemingly indicated that the company had the intention to allow users to experience Sydney once again.
“Bing has a meta prompt, and the meta prompt is called Sydney,” he said in the interview. “One of the things that I hope that we will do just from a personalization perspective in the not-too-distant future is to let people have a little chunk of the meta prompt as their standing instructions for the product. So if you want it to be Sydney, you should be able to tell it to be Sydney.”
Moreover, according to Scott, the company was aware of how the public reacted to the changes made to Bing, resulting in what others called “lobotomized” Sydney. “People were really irritated at us that we dialed it down. They were like, ‘That was fun. We liked that.’” Then there are some things where it’s like, ‘Huh, it’s interesting that some people are upset about this and some people aren’t.’ How do I choose which preference to go meet?”
In past reports, different tech experts were able to access the developer mode of Bing chat, offering different modes, including the Sydney, Celebrity, Assistant mode, and more. Scott didn’t specify whether this would be the exact way the company would use to reintroduce Sydney to the public, but it is interesting that Microsoft is considering the request of many to access the silly side of Bing again.