A Changhua County man who messaged the official Line account of County Commissioner Wang Hui-mei (王惠美) saying that he wanted to kill himself was shocked when he received “That’s not bad” in reply.
County confidential secretary Chen Po-tsun (陳柏村) on Friday told reporters that Wang’s office no longer managed the account and that a chat bot had been used to answer messages.
A chat bot is an automated software program that generates a reply in the absence of a human user.
The county office apologized for the insensitive response and had disabled the bot’s automated response function, Chen said.
Future messages would not be answered, but only marked by the system as having been read, he added.
The man, surnamed Wu (吳), said he had felt hopeless taking care of his two ailing, elderly parents and turned to the county’s Department of Social Affairs for help.
On Jan. 19, Wu called the department to ask for help in obtaining long-term healthcare for his father, who has cancer, and was given information on options provided by the county’s Public Health Bureau.
Unsatisfied with the response, Wu reached out to Wang via her official Line group, unaware that the account was not being monitored. After receiving the chat bot response, he showed the message to local media.
The conversation shows Wu saying he has something to tell Wang and the bot replying that he should ask whatever he wants.
The responses seemed strange and did not quite match his questions, Wu said.
Toward the end of the interaction, Wu says he wants to end his life and the bot replies with “That’s not bad” and “Let’s work together in the future to make things better.”
Chen said that after the incident, the office debated whether to close the account, which has more than 10,000 followers, but decided to keep it open with the automated response function disabled.
The account has been made invisible, he said, adding that new users cannot join, but old users can still post to the account.
Asked about the account, Wang said she was not aware what conversations it held, and that it had only been used during her campaign before the nine-in-one elections in November last year.
Changhua County Department of Social Affairs deputy director Chen Su-chen (陳素貞) said the department gave Wu information about long-term care services, helped him apply for them and sent him NT$6,000 before the Lunar New Year to help his family.
Wu’s mother has already received long-term care resources and the bureau was seeking approval for the family to receive breathing equipment and other resources for when Wu’s father leaves the hospital, the bureau’s long-term care division director Chiu Tsui-jung (邱翠容) said.
A Keelung high school on Saturday night apologized for using a picture containing a Chinese flag on the cover of the senior yearbook, adding that it has recalled the books and pledged to provide students new ones before graduation on Thursday. Of 309 Affiliated Keelung Maritime Senior High School of National Taiwan Ocean University graduates, 248 had purchased the yearbook. Some students said that the printer committed an outrageous error in including the picture, while others said that nobody would notice such a small flag on the cover. Other students said that they cared more about the photographs of classmates and what was
GOING INTERNATIONAL: Rakuten Girls squad leader Ula Shen said she was surprised that baseball fans outside of Taiwan not only knew of them, but also knew their names Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics on Saturday hosted its first Taiwanese Heritage Day event at the Oakland Coliseum with a performance by Taiwanese cheerleading squad the Rakuten Girls and a video message from Vice President William Lai (賴清德). The Rakuten Girls, who are the cheerleaders for the CPBL’s Rakuten Monkeys, performed in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people, followed by a prerecorded address by Lai about Taiwan’s baseball culture and democratic spirit. Taiwanese pitcher Sha Tzu-chen (沙子宸), who was signed by the Athletics earlier this year, was also present. Mizuki Lin (林襄), considered a “baseball cheerleading goddess” by Taiwanese
WAY OF THE RUKAI: ‘Values deemed worthy often exist amid discomfort, so when people go against the flow, nature becomes entwined with our lives,’ a student said “Run, don’t walk” after your dreams, Nvidia cofounder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) told National Taiwan University (NTU) graduates yesterday, as several major universities held in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. “What will you create? Whatever it is, run after it. Run, don’t walk. Remember, either you’re running for food, or you are running from becoming food. Oftentimes, you can’t tell which. Either way, run,” he said. Huang was one of several tech executives addressing graduating students at Taiwanese universities. National Chengchi University held two ceremonies, with alumnus Patrick Pan (潘先國), who is head of Taiwan
A 14-legged giant isopod is the highlight of a new dish at a ramen restaurant in Taipei and it has people lining up — both for pictures and for a bite from this bowl of noodles. Since “The Ramen Boy” launched the limited-edition noodle bowl on Monday last week, declaring in a social media post that it had “finally got this dream ingredient,” more than 100 people have joined a waiting list to dine at the restaurant. “It is so attractive because of its appearance — it looks very cute,” said the 37-year-old owner of the restaurant, who wanted to be