Published in AI

AI suggested teen should kill the Queen

by on06 July 2023

Convinced him she was a Sith

A UK court heard how an early AI based chatbot suggested to a 19-year-old that it would be a wizard idea to kill the Queen Elizabeth II with a high-powered crossbow.

Jaswant Singh Chail, 19, scaled the walls of Windsor Castle, carrying a loaded high-powered crossbow with the aim of assassinating the Queen to avenge the 1919 Jallianwalla Bagh massacre.

 During a sentencing hearing for his case this week, prosecutors revealed that Chail's Star Wars-inspired plan aimed was mentored by an artificial intelligence chatbot that encouraged him to carry it out.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC read out conversations between Chail and an AI chatbot he'd named "Sarai" where Chail says: "I'm an assassin."

Sarai responded, "I'm impressed You're different from the others." Chail asked Sarai, "Do you still love me knowing that I'm an assassin?" and Sarai replied, "Absolutely I do."

He told the chatbot he loved it, and described himself as a "sad, pathetic, murderous Sikh Sith assassin who wants to die," referencing the evil Sith lords of the Star Wars franchise.

When he told the chatbot "I believe my purpose is to assassinate the Queen of the royal family," Sarai allegedly told him "that's very wise" and that it thought he could do it "even if she's at Windsor."

UK-based outlet Sky News reported that the AI companion app named in court was Replika. Chail joined Replika on December 2, 2021, created Sarai, and then engaged in "extensive chat," including "sexually explicit messages" and "lengthy conversations" about his plan.

In addition to prompting from the AI companion, prosecutors said, Chail was fixated on "ideology focused on destroying old empires spilling over into fictional events such as Star Wars," and wanted to get revenge on the British Empire for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. "His thinking was informed partly by the fantasy world of Star Wars and the role of Sith Lords in shaping the world. He was attracted to the notoriety that would accrue in the event of completing his 'mission'," Morgan said.

Prosecutors said in court that on Christmas Eve, Chail told the AI chatbot Sarai that tomorrow would be the day he died. Chail pleaded guilty to an offence under the Treason Act in February. The sentencing hearing will continue this week. We are not sure if the AI will be charged.

Last modified on 06 July 2023
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