There have been machines that move themselves for millennia. E., the Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria designed dolls that could be used to act out miniature theatrical scenes.
The aim was to "experiment with and conduct research on conversational understanding," with Tay able to learn from "her" conversations and get progressively "smarter." But Tay proved a smash hit with racists, trolls, and online troublemakers, who persuaded Tay to blithely use racial slurs, defend white-supremacist propaganda, and even outright call for genocide.
Microsoft has now taken Tay offline for "upgrades," and it is deleting some of the worst tweets — though many still remain.
Tay doesn't even know it exists, or what racism is.
The reason it spouted garbage is that racist humans on Twitter quickly spotted a vulnerability — that Tay didn't understand what it was talking about — and exploited it.