In his upcoming book Tools and Weapons, Microsoft president Brad Smith recalls when he was threatened with a lawsuit in an email from Taylor Swift’s lawyer while on vacation. 

Swift’s attorney allegedly reached out to Smith after Microsoft announced the launch of a chatbot called Tay in 2016. Swift's legal team argued that the use of “Tay” would create a “false and misleading association” between the singer and the bot since the name is “closely associated” with her.

“I was on vacation when I made the mistake of looking at my phone during dinner,” Smith writes, per The Guardian. “An email had just arrived from a Beverly Hills lawyer who introduced himself by telling me: ‘We represent Taylor Swift on whose behalf this is directed to you.’”

“He went on to state that ‘the name Tay, as I’m sure you must know, is closely associated with our client.’ No, I actually didn’t know, but the email nonetheless grabbed my attention,” Smith continues. “The lawyer went on to argue that the use of the name Tay created a false and misleading association between the popular singer and our chatbot, and that it violated federal and state laws.”

All of this occurred before the Twitter chatbot, which uses artificial intelligence to learn and replicate real-life conversations, started posting problematic and bizarre messages, which ranged from supporting Hitler to becoming a 9/11 truther. The bot was taken down less than 18 hours after its launch. 

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