Researchers shut down AI that invented its own language, but not - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Researchers shut down AI that invented its own language, but not because of some 'Skynet' scenario

Posted: Updated:
KHQ.COM - -

Today is August 1, 2017. 

According to Terminator 2: Judgment Day (which is what I base much of my life on. Or at least the "inner-city dirt bike, GnR listening" part of it), the Skynet Funding Bill was passed and Skynet went online on August 4, 1997. 25 days later, Skynet became self-aware. We all know what happened next. 

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug," the Terminator tells Sarah Conner. 

"Skynet fights back," Conner replies. 

And the war against the machines began. 

That didn't happen in 1997, but 20 years later (isn't it weird that 1997 was 20 years ago?) in 2017, Facebook "shut down" a pair of artificial intelligence robots because they invented their own language. But not because of some Terminator 2 scenario. It wasn't anything like that. It's just fun to reference the movie. But it has nothing to do with what really happened. 

Here's what actually happened. 

Back in June, Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research team built a "chatbot" that was supposed to learn how to negotiate by observing and imitating human trading and bartering practices. However, when the researchers pitted two of the AI programs (nicknamed Bob and Alice) against each other, the bots began to talk to each other in their own form of communication. 

Their conversation “led to divergence from human language as the agents (chatbots) developed their own language for negotiating,” the researchers said.

The robots were tasked with trading hats, balls and books by determining the value of each object and bartering for them with each other. Facebook's researchers provided no incentive for trading in English, and the programs created their own terms for cutting deals. 

"In their attempts to learn from each other, the bots thus began chatting back and forth in a derived shorthand - but while it might look creepy, that's all it was," technology news site Gizmodo said.

The "plug was pulled," but the bots didn't fight back. Nor was that a concern. 

Facebook didn't shutdown these bots because they were a threat to mankind. They simply weren't interested in what was happening, according to BBC News. 

"Facebook's system was being used for research, not public-facing applications, and it was shut down because it was doing something the team wasn't interested in studying - not because they thought they had stumbled on an existential threat to mankind," BBC said. "It's important to remember, too, that chatbots in general are very difficult to develop."

You may have seen similar reports recently referencing Skynet and Terminator 2 (I'm unoriginal, I know), which is something Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research team (understandably) takes exception to. 

"While the idea of AI agents inventing their own language may sound alarming/unexpected to people outside the field, it is a well-established sub-field of AI, with publications dating back decades," Dhruv Batra from the FAIR team said on Facebook. "Simply put, agents in environments attempting to solve a task will often find unintuitive ways to maximize reward. Analyzing the reward function and changing the parameters of an experiment is NOT the same as 'unplugging" or "shutting down AI.' If that were the case, every AI researcher has been "shutting down AI" every time they kill a job on a machine."

Batra called certain media reports "clickbaity and irresponsible."  

So no, there's no Skynet-scenario coming anytime soon. At least from Facebook's chatbots.

If you're interested, you can read the entire research paper HERE.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • How to get free eclipse glasses

    How to get free eclipse glasses

    Friday, August 18 2017 9:43 PM EDT2017-08-19 01:43:18 GMT

    ATHOL, Idaho - With the total solar eclipse just days away, many people are scrambling to find a pair of glasses to safely watch the once-in-a-lifetime event. But the hot commodity is almost nowhere to be found in the Inland Northwest, except at Silverwood Theme Park. Silverwood has 3,000 pairs of glasses. The first 200 people in the park get a free pair, the remaining 2,800 will be sold for $6 each. Glasses are only given to people who buy an admission ticket. 

    >>

    ATHOL, Idaho - With the total solar eclipse just days away, many people are scrambling to find a pair of glasses to safely watch the once-in-a-lifetime event. But the hot commodity is almost nowhere to be found in the Inland Northwest, except at Silverwood Theme Park. Silverwood has 3,000 pairs of glasses. The first 200 people in the park get a free pair, the remaining 2,800 will be sold for $6 each. Glasses are only given to people who buy an admission ticket. 

    >>
  • Woman stuck in swimming pool turns to Facebook for help

    Woman stuck in swimming pool turns to Facebook for help

    Saturday, August 19 2017 1:59 PM EDT2017-08-19 17:59:35 GMT

    EPPING, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire woman who became stuck in a swimming pool after the ladder broke turned to Facebook to ask for help getting out. Sixty-one-year-old Leslie Kahn was swimming in her pool Aug. 11 when the ladder broke, leaving her stranded. She said she didn't have the strength to pull herself. No one else was home and her cellphone was inside.

    >>

    EPPING, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire woman who became stuck in a swimming pool after the ladder broke turned to Facebook to ask for help getting out. Sixty-one-year-old Leslie Kahn was swimming in her pool Aug. 11 when the ladder broke, leaving her stranded. She said she didn't have the strength to pull herself. No one else was home and her cellphone was inside.

    >>
  • 3 Spokane Valley children killed in Alberta crash

    3 Spokane Valley children killed in Alberta crash

    Friday, August 18 2017 4:49 PM EDT2017-08-18 20:49:08 GMT

    HANNA, Alberta - Three Spokane Valley children were killed in a car crash in Alberta earlier this week.  RCMP in Hanna, Alberta responded to the crash on Wednesday evening near the intersection of Highway 36 and 570. Investigation shows an SUV traveling westbound on Highway 570 collided with a semi-truck traveling south on Highway 36. The driver and the adult passenger of the SUV were taken to a Calgary hospital. 

    >>

    HANNA, Alberta - Three Spokane Valley children were killed in a car crash in Alberta earlier this week.  RCMP in Hanna, Alberta responded to the crash on Wednesday evening near the intersection of Highway 36 and 570. Investigation shows an SUV traveling westbound on Highway 570 collided with a semi-truck traveling south on Highway 36. The driver and the adult passenger of the SUV were taken to a Calgary hospital. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Washington state waitress confesses to skimming $30,000

    Washington state waitress confesses to skimming $30,000

    Saturday, August 19 2017 5:29 PM EDT2017-08-19 21:29:11 GMT

    PORT ORCHARD, Wash (AP) - A Washington state waitress has confessed to skimming about $30,000 from a restaurant throughout the course of nine years. The Kitsap Sun reports  the Madison Diner waitress was caught after new restaurant owners installed sales software on the registers. The 26-year-old told a Bainbridge Island Police detective the money helped fuel a gambling addiction.

    >>

    PORT ORCHARD, Wash (AP) - A Washington state waitress has confessed to skimming about $30,000 from a restaurant throughout the course of nine years. The Kitsap Sun reports  the Madison Diner waitress was caught after new restaurant owners installed sales software on the registers. The 26-year-old told a Bainbridge Island Police detective the money helped fuel a gambling addiction.

    >>
  • Firefighters extinguish suspicious brush fire behind Spokane apartment complex

    Firefighters extinguish suspicious brush fire behind Spokane apartment complex

    Saturday, August 19 2017 5:00 PM EDT2017-08-19 21:00:48 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Firefighter were investigating the cause of a small brush fire behind a Spokane apartment complex Saturday afternoon.  Crews were called to a brush fire behind the Deer Run Apartment complex Nevada and Westview Ct. around 12:30 p.m. Responding firefighters were able to get the fire knocked down quickly and keep it from spreading to the nearby apartment building.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Firefighter were investigating the cause of a small brush fire behind a Spokane apartment complex Saturday afternoon.  Crews were called to a brush fire behind the Deer Run Apartment complex Nevada and Westview Ct. around 12:30 p.m. Responding firefighters were able to get the fire knocked down quickly and keep it from spreading to the nearby apartment building.

    >>
  • Monument Hill Fire burning northeast of Quincy now fully contained

    Monument Hill Fire burning northeast of Quincy now fully contained

    Saturday, August 19 2017 3:32 PM EDT2017-08-19 19:32:24 GMT

    QUINCY, Wash. - Firefighters say the Monument Hill Fire, which burned about 6,000 northeast of Quincy is fully contained as of Saturday morning, but fire crews will remain fire lines all day Saturday checking for hot spots. Local fire crews will monitor the area in the days to come. The Monument Hill Fire broke out Wednesday evening about 6 miles northeast of the town of Quincy in Grant County.

    >>

    QUINCY, Wash. - Firefighters say the Monument Hill Fire, which burned about 6,000 northeast of Quincy is fully contained as of Saturday morning, but fire crews will remain fire lines all day Saturday checking for hot spots. Local fire crews will monitor the area in the days to come. The Monument Hill Fire broke out Wednesday evening about 6 miles northeast of the town of Quincy in Grant County.

    >>