CHICAGO, March 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- TechInsurance, the nation's leading online insurance agent for small IT businesses, today cautioned that last week's dustup involving Microsoft's AI chat bot Tay highlights how IT professionals can face liability exposures that arise after completion and delivery of a product.
According to news reports, Microsoft introduced Tay on Friday to interact with Internet users and develop the speech patterns of 18- to 24-year-olds through machine learning processes. Within hours, though, Tay was reportedly spouting racist and sexist comments and defending Hitler.
The problem, sources note, was that mischievous users exploited a vulnerability in Tay's programming to manipulate her comments. While most small IT businesses aren't developing complex artificial intelligence bots, many are building software and applications that function without oversight after being delivered to customers.
As software complexity and number of users increase, the opportunity for problems also rises. In July 2015, a glitch in trading software caused the NYSE to go down for nearly four hours. Similar bugs have grounded airlines and caused failures on the Wall Street Journal's website. These can be attributed to problematic software alone; when user behavior is factored in, additional risk exposures emerge.
TechInsurance noted in its 2014 TechInsurance Market Index (TIMI) that some of the most common legal claims against IT businesses come from customers dissatisfied with the delivery or outcome of a project – even if their own improper usage is to blame for the negative outcomes.
"Customers are the lifeblood of any business, but they're also one of the biggest potential sources of lawsuits," said Ted Devine, TechInsurance CEO. "As a business owner, you can deliver excellent work, but what your clients do is out of your hands."
The 2014 TIMI, available for free download from TechInsurance.com, offers an in-depth look at how IT business owners can manage risk so they're prepared for allegations of negligence and oversight, whether because of actual problems in software they develop or because of client reactions to a project.
TechInsurance is the nation's leading online insurance agent for small IT businesses. It offers liability insurance and educational resources for IT professionals and their clients.
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