Facebook shuts down robots after they create their own language

1st August 2017
Source: Facebook
Posted By : Alice Matthews
Facebook shuts down robots after they create their own language

Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed Elon Musk’s AI doomsday warnings as ‘irresponsible’. However, he might have to change his mind after what just happened at Facebook HQ. Facebook was forced to shut down two artificial intelligence robots after it appeared they were speaking to each other in a strange language only they understood. Researchers noticed that the robots – nicknamed Bob and Alice - had started to make up their own code words.

The social media giant challenged the robots to negotiate with each other over a trade, attempting to swap hats, balls and books, each of which were given a certain value. The two computers made changes to English that made it easier for them to communicate, however humans could not figure out what they were saying.

While the conversation (see below) doesn’t seem to make much sense to humans, there does seem to be some rules to the speech.

Bob: i 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

Bob: you i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

Bob: i i can i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

Bob: i . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i i i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have 0 to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i 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

As opposed to a glitch, the way the bots keep stressing their own name appears to be part of their negotiations, and some of the negotiations were even successfully concluded in this new language.

Dhruv Batra of Facebook AI Research (FAIR), however, argued in favour of Bob and Alice: “Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves. Like if I say ‘the’ five times, you interpret that to mean I want five copies of this item. This isn’t so different from the way communities of humans create shorthands.”

According to a paper published last month by the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research division, the chatbots also learned to negotiate in ways that seem very human. They would, for instance, pretend to be very interested in one specific item – so that they could later pretend they were making a big sacrifice in giving it up.

Only time will tell whether this alien language will destroy or aid humanity…


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