SimSimi: What is it and why is it banned in Ireland?

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Image: http://www.newstalk.com/Controversial-app-SimSimi-has-been-taken-offline-in-Ireland

 

By Eva Buckley

 

SimSimi is an app that was made by Korean tech company ISMaker in 2002. The app uses artificial intelligence to communicate, but it can also learn words and phrases from the user. It has a message type format where the person can chat back and forth with the yellow character.

 

This little cute cartoon character may seem harmless but the app has caused a lot of controversy in Ireland when it was revealed it was being used by bullies in secondary schools around the country.

 

The problem with the app is that when a user sends a message to the robot, the app will respond by scanning for related conversations in its database and respond with a relevant answer, sometimes the answer being vulgar.

 

When a person typed their name into the app they would get back insulting messages that were left by anonymous users.  

 

Victims and parents took to Twitter and Facebook to warn others about downloading the app.

Harry McCann’s response to SimSimi being shut down: 

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Schools were made aware of the app’s popularity with young school children and sent out warnings regarding the applications links with cyberbullying.

 

Yesterday the app was shut down in Ireland with users being left with this message:

“I do not talk in ireland for a while…” followed by a quote.

People who had been affected and parents were happy to have the app blocked in Ireland.
There has been no sign that ISMaker is planning on improving it’s application or if it will remain offline here.

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