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Facebook shuts down AI system after it creates own language that humans can't understand

Facebook was forced to shut down one of its AI systems after developers discovered that chatbots started speaking in their own language.

Written by: India TV Tech Desk, San Francisco [ Published on: July 31, 2017 23:39 IST ]
Facebook shuts down AI system after it creates own language
Facebook shuts down AI system after it creates own language

Days after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sparred with Tesla CEO Elon Musk over artificial intelligence (AI), the social media giant was forced to shut down one of its AI systems after developers discovered that chatbots started speaking in their own language, defying the codes provided. According to a report in Tech Times on Sunday, Facebook had to pull the plug on the AI system after researchers discovered that it had started communicating in a language that they could not understand. 

Initially the AI agents used English to converse with each other but they later created a new language that only AI systems could understand, thus, defying their purpose. This led Facebook researchers to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English.

In June, researchers from the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that while they were busy trying to improve chatbots, the “dialogue agents” were creating their own language.

Soon, the bots began to deviate from the scripted norms and started communicating in an entirely new language which they created without human input, media reports said.

The researchers also found these bots to be “incredibly crafty negotiators”.

“The AI agents, created to negotiate with humans, first talked to each other using plain English, but eventually created a new language that only the AI systems understood,” 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.

AI 'biggest risk'  

The report comes just days after a verbal spat between Facebook CEO and Musk who exchanged harsh words over a debate on the future of AI.

“I’ve talked to Mark about this (AI). His understanding of the subject is limited,” Musk tweeted last week.

The tweet came after Zuckerberg, during a Facebook livestream earlier this month, castigated Musk for arguing that care and regulation was needed to safeguard the future if AI becomes mainstream.

“I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios -- I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible,” Zuckerberg said.

Musk has been speaking frequently on AI and has called its progress the “biggest risk we face as a civilisation”.

“AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive because if we’re reactive in AI regulation it’s too late,” he said.

Several experts including Professor Stephen Hawking have raised fears that humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, could be superseded by AI. Philanthropist Bill Gates and ex-Apple founder Steve Wozniak have also expressed their concerns about where the AI technology was heading.

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