Lee Luda chatbot

Released: December 2020
Occurred: January 2021

Can you improve this page?
Share your insights with us

Lee Luda is a Facebook Messenger-based chatbot developed by south Korean web firm Scatter Lab and launched in December 2020.

Designed to mimic a 20-year old female university student and potential virtual starlet, Lee Luda was trained using over 10 billion KakaoTalk messages from two other apps developed by the same company.

Reaction

The initial reaction to Lee Luda was broadly favourable, with 750,000+ people, mostly teenagers and young adults, subscribing to its Facebook Messenger account. They were mostly drawn by its informality and ability to build 'intimacy' over time, according to the Dankook Herald.

However, the chatbot also quickly started spraying users with offensive, discriminatory, and homophobic comments about women, lesbians, black, disabled and trans people, and was used to sexually harass others.

Lee Luda was also accused of disclosing the personal data of people whose data was included in the training of its model. In April 2021, Korea’s data protection watchdog the Personal Information Protection Commission (PPIC) fined Scatter Lab 103.3 million won (USD 93,000) for not obtaining proper user permissions.

The fiasco was seen to prompt a much-needed debate about AI ethics in South Korea, culminating in the Korea AI Ethics Association (KAIEA) calling for the immediate suspension of the service and a coalition of civil society organisations denouncing the government's promotion of the AI industry at what it saw as the expense of digital rights, and calling for a more stringent regulatory framework.

Scatter Lab CEO Kim Jong-yoon had initially defended Lee Luda, saying the bot would take time to learn and mature, before shutting it down three weeks after its launch.

Lee Luda 2.0

In October 2022, Scatter Lab announced the launch of Lee Luda 2.0. The new version is powered by a generative language model named 'Luda Gen1', has all names converted to pseudonyms to protect privacy, and incorporates an automatic screening and a penalty system to prevent abuse.

Operator: Scatter Lab

Developer: Scatter Lab
Country: S Korea

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Interact with users

Technology: Chatbot; Deep learning; NLP/text analysis

Issue: Safety; Ethics; Privacy
Transparency: Governance; Privacy

System

Research, audits, investigations, inquiries, litigation

News, commentary, analysis

Page info
Published: April 2021
Last updated: January 2023