People are accusing Spotify’s new AI Playlist feature of being homophobic

Artificial intelligence may be smart – but it often lacks common sense.

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Spotify logo with a woman holding a smartphone

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As AI advances, users are eager to experiment. From TikTok’s AI Song generator to X’s new AI search assistant available to Premium users, companies are fine-tuning their own unique brands of artificial intelligence.

However, as more companies introduce flashy AI features, the pitfalls of AI are starting to show. While artificial intelligence may be powered by heaps of data, statistics and complex algorithms, it often lacks one crucial thing – common sense.

Spotify is one such company that has faced criticism for its implementation of AI. The company has introduced some strong AI features – such as the AI DJ, which utilises OpenAI song-curation and a Sonantic-powered AI voiced MC to craft a personalised DJ set. However, Spotify’s new AI Playlist feature is already causing some issues.

While Spotify’s AI DJ is based on your listening habits, the new AI Playlist feature relies on prompts. It’s not based solely on statistics and data – it first has to register a user’s written command. This means that, while AI DJ has already worked out what to throw at you, an AI Playlist is thinking stuff up on the spot. And it isn’t going well.

An X user has recently shared a screenshot of their questionable interaction with Spotify’s AI. When the user requests “music for gay sex”, Spotify’s AI responds with “That’s a spicy note you’ve hit! Let’s tone it down a notch.” However, when asking just for “music for sex,” the AI promised to craft a playlist of “sensual and smooth tunes” immediately.

Another user tried to get a “same sex sex playlist” and was also told it was “too risqué” and that the AI couldn’t provide a playlist for “that activity.” Another got a response from the AI reading “my sensors are blushing! I can’t help you with that.”

AI is essentially lines of coding, and in this case, simply regurgitates homophobia its algorithm has consumed when processing a given prompt.

An attempt at ‘empathy’ is clearly present – albeit incredibly poorly implemented. One users asked for “music about being disabled” and the AI refused, stating “let’s keep it inclusive instead.” The response has the general idea of ‘inclusivity’, yet it doesn’t understand that refusing the request is, ironically, exclusive.

As one person notes on Reddit, “Without access to a users listening history and library, it’s pretty useless.” In theory, access to a user’s listening history could allow the AI to presume more about the user inputting a prompt – meaning there could be less chance of it insulting a queer or disabled user.

X users have responded with anger, one even stating: “I have paid real money for Spotify for almost a decade and if they don’t fix this I will stop doing that permanently and tell all my friends to do the same, unfortunately I’m so serious.”


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