Aww, they learned to work together! And all it took was teaching them that it was necessary in order to defeat a common enemy.
Related: 6 Shocking Ways Robots Are Already Becoming Human
They've Learned To Lie To Get What They Want
Facebook, which already created one civilization-destroying piece of software, is also getting into the AI game. For one project, their goal was to design personal AIs that would go online and do our price haggling for us. Another task that people find stressful and unpleasant, offloaded to machines. Sounds good so far.
So, providing them with basic machine learning software, they just wanted to see if the bots could learn the skills they needed to successfully negotiate on their own. The researchers even tested them on human subjects who didn't even know they were interacting with AIs. The bots learned their task very quickly. In fact, it didn't take long for them to negotiate better deals than their human counterparts. How? By lying.
Although Facebook's researchers didn't program the bots to lie (they wanted to avoid the mistakes they made when they created Mark Zuckerberg), the software quickly figured out what salespeople have known since the dawn of time: Lies are just more profitable. "Sorry, I can't come down on the price, buddy, I've got other buyers lined up!"
Then the team had to alter the code entirely when the bots unexpectedly created their own language and began communicating with each other through it. Yeah, imagine one day your Siri and Alexa starting having a conversation behind your back, speaking a robot language only they understand.
Related: 5 Amazing New Inventions (That Will Doom Humanity)
The Creators Sometimes Don't Even Know How It Works
I don't want to indulge in fear-mongering. Technological alarmists almost always wind up looking like idiots decades later (almost always). The problem is that, by its very nature, AI is supposed to do its own thinking, to grow beyond its original design. There's a reason sci-fi has been full of cautionary tales on the subject going back almost a century. So even when an AI project exceeds expectations, there's a creepy moment when scientists realize they aren't sure how it did it.
One example involves using an AI known as Deep Patient to analyze medical record data from about 700,000 patients at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. The AI proved to be very good at predicting the onset of various illnesses. In fact, it was particularly skilled at predicting when and if patients would develop schizophrenia.
Predicting the onset of illnesses in advance is extremely difficult for actual doctors, as they are not psychics, so it's cool that Deep Patient is good at this. But researchers have approximately zero clues as to why it's so good at it, and it doesn't help that the AI essentially taught itself to make these predictions. According to one researcher involved in the project, "We can build these models, but we don't know how they work."
So, again, there's no reason to fear all artificial intelligence. But also, it'll soon be able to predict how you'll die via mysterious means no one understands. That's all.
Joe Oliveto also writes scary story books inspired by childhood classics, in case you aren't creeped out enough.
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