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Sim Simi learns from all of the conversations it has had with users.

Bullies can use this learning method to program the app with abusive responses. Sim Simi is a chatbot that can be taught to respond to questions and has proven particularly popular among school children.

When Microsoft launched “Tay Tweets”, it said that the account would get more clever the more it was used: “The more you chat with Tay the smarter she gets”.

That appears to be a reference to machine learning technology that has been built into the account.

But things took a sour turn after it emerged that the app can be programmed to hurl abuse at fellow users by anonymously.