Microsoft turns to AI to clean out bad language from Xbox Live chats


Microsoft has announced that it is introducing new filters that will enable Xbox Live players to avoid language they may find offensive or unacceptable. It is hoped that the AI-powered system will help to reduce trolling and bullying.

The system will be optional and will offer three levels of language filtering, as well as the option of remaining unfiltered. It's an expansion of Microsoft's family settings, and the company says it recognizes "that while some adults use profanity without any ill intent while gaming, parents with small children likely won't find this same experience acceptable".

Microsoft acknowledges that there are differences between the way friends speak with each other, and the way strangers interact. To this end, the company has tried to make the filtering system as customizable and flexible as possible. It's not a one-size-fits-all feature; it's possible to have filtering in place for some chats, but disabled for friends. For children, the highest level of filtering is enabled by default.

Announcing the new feature, Microsoft explains: "We want to give you, the gamer, the control over what messages you want to see when you are engaged in the Xbox community, so we're enabling new ways to filter content, specifically text. These new automated text filtration capabilities will start rolling out across the Xbox ecosystem soon, starting first with private messages and expanding over time to profiles, LFG, Clubs and your Activity Feed".

The company goes on to say:

With this update, you will set your own specific levels of automated filtration so you can decide what's acceptable and what isn't in the text-based messages you receive across Xbox Live. Filter levels can be customized based on four tiers of filtration -- Friendly, Medium, Mature and Unfiltered.  And as always, if you receive a message that violates our Community Standards for Xbox, even with filters in place, you can still report this conduct to Xbox Enforcement for follow up.

Check out the video below in which Major Nelson reveals the upcoming features:

In the longer term, Microsoft hopes to expand the system to all content on Xbox Live, harnessing its knowledge of AI and machine learning to improve the platform for everyone.

Image credit: MaryValery / Shutterstock

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