17:23 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Sberbank logo is pictured during the Artificial Intelligence Journey (AIJ) forum, in Moscow, Russia.

    Major Russian Bank Accidently Offers Client to 'Cry, Kill Jews' in SMS Advertisement

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    The bank explained that the mishap happened due to a "purely accidental" glitch in a fully automatic algorithm generating passphrases for special offers for clients. It has vowed to review how the mechanism works to avoid similar incidents in the future.

    A client of one of Russia’s major banks, Sberbank, was unpleasantly surprised when he received a credit offer from the financial institution that at some point basically suggested that he "cry, kill Jews". The "proposal" came in the form of a passphrase that the client needed to use to get the credit on more favourable terms.

    The client later published a screenshot of the offer and the passphrase on Twitter captioning it with symbols representing a Nazi salute. Many Twitterians agreed in the comments that the passphrase indeed looked anti-Semitic, but some noted that it was likely randomly generated. One netizen though suggested that the experiments with AI the company started conducting recently may have gone awry.

    The bank's client also reported the potentially offensive passphrase to Sberbank, but the latter initially considered it a prank and suggested that the screenshot had been doctored.

    Sberbank later acknowledged the message had indeed contained the controversial passphrase and said that the mishap was caused by a random passphrase generator. The financial institution noted that the algorithm used in the passphrase's generation was not "trying to insult anyone" and assured that it will look into it to avoid such mishaps in the future.

    "The passphrase is essentially an array of random symbols […] We are generating around 13 billion passphrases each year and the mechanism for it is fully automatic and doesn't require a man-in-the-loop. We are no less surprised than you, but this passphrase is purely accidental", the bank's statement said.

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    Anti-Semitic, anti-Semitism, Sberbank
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