Artificial Intelligence – Worst Thing to Humanity????
It was 19th October 2016 and the occasion was the opening ceremony of the Leverhulme Centre for Future of Intelligence in the United Kingdom when one of the greatest scientist of this decade, Professor Stephen Hawking warned the generation that the artificial intelligence will be “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”. While addressing the guest, he acclaimed “Artificial Intelligence could lead to the destruction of humanity. 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 Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Other Scientists and tech luminaries, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak have also warned that AI could lead to tragic unforeseen consequences. But none of us took it seriously then. Last week, a news float in global tech media about Facebook shutting down its AI system.
The chatbots robots which were designed by Facebook at various operational levels started speaking in their own language defying the codes provided. According to a report published in Tech Times, the social media giant had to pull the plug on the AI system that its researchers were working on “because things got out of hand”. “The AI did not start shutting down computers worldwide or something of the sort, but it stopped using English and started using a language that it created,” the report further noted.
Let us know in details about this complete story. Earlier this year, Facebook deployed various AI enabled chatbots to automate the various process. These AI system was working on the fundamentals of machine learning. They were self-learning system which understands the situation, check the records, converse with another system, solve the problem and learn from mistakes. A complete human independent system. Initially, these AI agents nicknamed Bob and Alice, were originally communicating in English, when they swapped to what initially appeared to be gibberish but later (in June) Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that while they were busy trying to improve chatbots, the “dialogue agents” were creating their own language. They were still doing conversation with other systems, still solving the issues but that gone completely out of the context from the human being. Objectives were still being served but for researchers, it was a complete black box for researchers. They were not able to get any idea about the complete workflow. This led Facebook researchers to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English. Soon, the chatbots began to deviate from the scripted norms and started communicating in an entirely new language which they created without human input. Using machine learning algorithms, the “dialogue agents” were left to converse freely in an attempt to strengthen their conversational skills.
“After learning to negotiate, the bots relied on machine learning and advanced strategies in an attempt to improve the outcome of these negotiations,” the report said. “Over time, the bots became quite skilled at it and even began feigning interest in one item in order to ‘sacrifice’ it at a later stage in the negotiation as a faux compromise,” it added.
Interestingly, this incident took place just days after a verbal spat between Facebook CEO and Musk who exchanged harsh words over a debate on the future of Artificial Intelligence. For the last 5 years, the tech world realized that Machine learning and artificial intelligence have phenomenal potential to simplify, accelerate, and improve many aspects of our lives. Computers can ingest and process massive quantities of data and extract patterns and useful information at a rate exponentially faster than humans, and that potential is being explored and developed around the world. But everything has a limit. If there is no limit then it can turn dangerous.
Facebook’s experiment isn’t the only victim of smart intelligence technique. This isn’t the first time that AI has started to act with a mind of its own. In 2016, the search engine Google revealed that the AI which they use for its Translate tool had created its own language, which it would translate things into and then out of. Google Translate used neural networks — a computer system that is modeled on the human brain — to translate between some of its popular languages, and also between language pairs for which it has not been specifically trained. It was in this way that people started to believe Google Translate had effectively established its own language to assist in translation. But the company was somehow happy with that development and allowed it to continue. Another study at OpenAI found that artificial intelligence could be encouraged to create a language, making itself more efficient and better at communicating as it did so. In 2017, an AI security robot ‘drowned itself’ in a water fountain. The robot, stationed in a Washington D.C shopping center met its end in June and sparked a Twitter storm featuring predictions detailing doomsday and suicidal robots. Whether this is true or not, the Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines film sure put forward a solid argument for robots that could be smarter than humans. In the meantime, it’s nice to know that AI can be switched off with the pull of a plug.
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