The newspapers have a scoop today – it seems that artificial intelligence (AI) could be out to get us. It sounds like something from a science fiction film.
Facebook shut down an AI engine after developers discovered that the AI had created its own unique language that humans can’t understand. Researchers at the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that the chatbots had deviated from the script and were communicating in a new language developed without human input. It is as concerning as it is amazing – simultaneously a glimpse of both the awesome and horrifying potential of AI.
In June, Facebook first published a blog post on their chatbot research — the massive social platform has been looking into automation in order to drive engagement more efficiently. The story later developed into a look at the weird ways the bots communicated. A sample:
Bob: “I can can I I everything else”
Alice: “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to”
Some speculate that the bots just meeting their goal of communicating efficiently without bothering to meet human standards. They never evolved beyond what their creators intended for them, and when they were shut down, it was probably for the same reason any work project gets ditched: it wasn’t working right.
Artificial Intelligence is not sentient—at least not yet. It may be someday, though – or it may approach something close enough to be dangerous. Ray Kurzweil warned years ago about the technological singularity, which may lead to dramatic and irreversible change of humanity.
Scientists and tech luminaries, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak have warned that AI could lead to tragic unforeseen consequences. Eminent British physicist Stephen Hawking had also warned in 2014 about the potentially tragic consequences of artificial intelligence that could end the human race. “It would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”