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01 Agosto 2017, 09:30 | Verda Sainz
Two Facebook AI bots started conversing in their own language, researchers decided to shut off the project
So, is it time to panic and start preparing for apocalypse at the hands of machines?
Where did the story come from?
It all started in June when the researchers at Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) saw that while they are busy with their working of improving their chatbots, the "dialogue agents" started creating their own language. Moreover, as others have pointed out, this kind of thing happens in AI research all the time.
"The second model is fixed, because the researchers found that updating the parameters of both agents led to divergence from human language as the agents developed their own language for negotiating", said the blog post.
You see, Facebook did create an AI program, and it did conclude the project.
Facebook chose to shut down the AI system after the bots had deviated from using English, before resetting them and forcing them to utilize only one language in their next set of tests. "We will also explore other negotiation tasks, to investigate whether models can learn to share negotiation strategies across domains".
This cryptic conversation between the two bots has been likened to a Skynet-esque sophisticated conversation in code between two machines looking to end humanity's reign over the planet. In fact, it echoes the very specific (and, initially, quite unintelligible) language that already exists around various trading practices, military operations and even amateur radio.
In November a year ago, Google revealed that the AI it uses for its Translate tool had created its own language, which it would translate phrases into and out of before delivering words in the target language. Earlier, inventor Elon Musk expressed concern on "intelligence program" which was strongly turned down by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They did so by testing them online in conversations with real people. "So they began to diverge, eventually rearranging legible words into seemingly nonsensical sentences" says Dhruv Batra, visiting research scientist from Georgia Tech at Facebook AI Research.
That's why some argue that putting AI in systems such as autonomous weapons is risky. I'm sure many thrilling discussions were had.
It's important to remember, too, that chatbots in general are very hard to develop. "Facebook shuts down robots after they invent their own language", London's Telegraph newspaper reported. However, the way we prepare for a world shared with AI, and whether or not that world will be safe for humans, is hotly debated.
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