Microsoft Copilot is accused of spreading biased information about disputed islands

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Copilot now finds itself in the middle of a controversial situation, after the AI tool was accused that it’s spreading biased information about the disputed islands of Dokdo, a set of islets located in the Sea of Japan, whose sovereignty is claimed by both South Korea and Japan.

South Korea calls the islands ‘Dokdo’, while Japan refers to them as ‘the Liancourt Rocks’, or ‘Takeshima’, and Copilot, it seems, prefers the latter names when asked about the topic.

According to International Business Times, Professor Seo Kyoung-duk of Sungshin Women’s University discovered that searching for these islands on Copilot in the US region displays the ‘Liancourt Rocks’ or ‘Takeshima’ rather than ‘Dokdo’. The professor said that the isles are also presented as disputed territory between the two countries, when in fact, they should be referred to as Korean.

Searching for the Dokdo islands on Bing displays different results, depending on where the user is located. In South Korea, for instance, the results use the Korean term “독도” and describe the islands as situated in the East Sea. In India, on the other hand, there are different results, as you can see below:

We even tried looking for the Dokdo islands, on Microsoft Edge, using Copilot, and we’re located in Europe, and this is what Copilot displays. Microsoft Copilot dokdo

The Dokdo Islands, also known as the Liancourt Rocks or Takeshima, are a group of islets located in the Sea of Japan. The islands have been the center of a diplomatic dispute between South Korea and Japan for more than 300 years. Despite the dispute, many South Koreans visit the rocks to exercise what they see as a civic duty.


The AI tool also displays some highlights regarding the region, mentioning its disputed state:

Administration: While the islets are administered by South Korea, their sovereignty is contested by Japan.


International Business Times also says that Professor Seo Kyoung-duk plans to file a formal complaint to Microsoft highlighting the issue, and urged the company to address it as soon as possible.

Copilot on Microsoft Edge is based on OpenAI’s GPT-4, and it uses the Internet to answer different questions. In our case, most of the referenced text on the issue was based on Wikipedia and other news sources.

Microsoft hasn’t addressed this issue, but the company will most likely update the tool to show as little biased information as possible.

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