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Facebook shuts down AI experiment after bots started communicating in own language

02 Août 2017

Facebook AI researchers were forced to disable a pair of artificial intelligence chatbots when they discovered that the two had created their own language, shutting out their human operators. Bad news: the researchers had to adjust their approach after the bots started developing their own take on English syntax. Interestingly, Facebook killed the AI systems because they deviated from their original objective, not because they had created their own language.

In addition to publishing their findings, Facebook researchers also released open source code so other researchers and developers can work to fine-tune chatbots' reasoning, conversational, and negotiating skills.

The AI bots' step of creating and communicating with the new language defied the provided codes. But they quickly broke down as the robots appeared to chant at each other in a language that they each understood but which appears mostly incomprehensible to humans.

It has been shown that letting AIs make their own language could ultimately mean more efficient communication between bots according to FastCoDesign.

The bots were never doing anything more nefarious than discussing with each other how to split an array of given items (represented in the user interface as innocuous objects such as books, hats and balls) into a mutually agreeable split.

Left to talking among themselves, the chatbots started to deviate from scripted language, using the words they'd been trained to use in ways that hadn't been taught to them by the researchers.

In a conversation between two bots called Bob and Alice, Bob states: "I can i i everything else".

A spokesman for Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research (Fair) wrote in a blog: "During reinforcement learning, the agent attempts to improve its parameters from conversations with another agent". News websites had a field day, making it look like the artificial intelligences were already plotting to overthrow the human race, and Facebook engineers had to pull the plug before the monstrosities escaped from the labs. Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me toBob: you i i i i i everything else.

FAIR Researcher Dhruv Batra explained to Fast Co Design that it is natural for the AI agents to invent their own language in order to communicate better.

"You i everything else", Bob told Alice after the first exchange. Whether Elon Musk's fears of AI dominance are unfounded or not is a debate for another day.

The bots were created as part of a program to teach computers and machines how to negotiate, while the ultimate goal was to develop personalized "digital assistants" who would be able to communicate with people.

Somehow, we doubt that use of language will catch on with humanity.

Facebook shuts down AI experiment after bots started communicating in own language