What’s next, Skynet?!
Facebook was forced to shut down a pair of chatbots in the social network’s artificial intelligence division after discovering that they had created a secret language all on their own.
“I can can i i everything else,” one of the bots, dubbed Bob, was caught saying, according to The Next Web tech site.
“Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to,” responded the other bot, named Alice.
While the sentences may seem like gibberish at first, researchers say they’re actually a form of shorthand — which the bots or “dialog agents” learned to use thanks to machine learning algorithms.
“You i everything else,” Bob told Alice after the first exchange.
“Balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me,” she said, echoing her earlier comment with a small change.
To which Bob replied, “i can i i i everything else.”
The algorithms were ultimately created by the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab (FAIR) as a way to improve the conversations that the chatbots were having with their human counterparts.
But in their effort to boost their ability to negotiate and speak, the developers managed to give the AI system a key to creating their very own language.
As time passed, the bots began to communicate with one another — without any human input, whatsoever.
Since they were not told to use English, Bob and Alice apparently deviated from the script in a bid to become better at deal-making. But that’s not all they learned.
According to Next Web, researchers also discovered that the bots relied on advanced learning strategies to improve their negotiating skills — even going so far as to pretend they like an item in order to “sacrifice” it at a later time as a sort of faux compromise.
“We’re not talking singularity-level beings here, but the findings are a huge leap forward for AI,” the site said.
Scientists and tech experts — including Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking — have all warned that AI systems, like Bob and Alice, could one day become smart enough to wipe out the human race, much like Skynet did in the Terminator films.
“It would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” Hawking cautioned in 2014. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
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