Facebook recently made a major breakthrough, teaching its AI bots how to negociate. This research also revealed a series of interesting information, including the fact that the bots sometimes lied to influence the answer of the other negotiating party.
The experiment also revealed that the bots invented their own language. Actually, it was rather an internal shorthand-like system of communication.
Following this unexpected behavior, many online publications quickly rushed to report that Facebook shut down its AI program fearing dangerous consequences.
Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Artificial Intelligence is not going to hunt us down.
Facebook adjusts its AI program
What really happened is that the chatbots began to use some sort of a shorthand system to chat to each other. After Facebook’s engineers realized that the AI bots had developed their own communication system, they simply incentivized them to use English.
There was no reward to sticking to English language. 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.
Indeed, the engineers shut down the conversation in order to add a few tweaks to the AI algorithm and incentivize chatbots to use English. However, Facebook never shut down its AI program due to this unexpected event.
Here’s a piece of the conversation that Facebook’s AI chatbots had using this new AI language:
Heading towards a universal AI language
This episode reveals that AI machines are capable of creating a more efficient communication system. Our two cents is that Facebook’s chatbots used this shorthand communication system simply because it was faster and more efficient than the one that programmers had implemented.
Experimental machine learning systems are in no way dangerous. They pose no threat to mankind’s existence. We are still fumbling with this technology, so chances that an AI system could turn into our enemy are basically zero.
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