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Meet MIT's Norman, the first psychopath AI trained with data

10 June, 2018, 18:31 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • MIT Media Lab

When it comes to artificial intelligence and even basic robots, people tend to worry about "technology taking over humans", either in terms of automation or some other cases like mass extinction of the humanity.

"It's a compelling idea", says the website, and shows that "an algorithm is only as good as the people, and indeed the data, that have taught it". They trained Norman using captions that are dedicated to the reality of death.

MIT has created a new AI that we sincerely hope never escapes into the wild because this IS how you get Skynet. Post this Norman was trained to generate captions for images.

Here is what both the AIs see on the Rorschach's inkblot test.


Once loaded with the information, MIT Media Lab researchers had the algorithm, nicknamed Norman, after then main character in Alfred Hitchcock's horror movie "Psycho", respond to inkblots used in a Rorschach psychological test, the network said.

In this case, you can actually try to change the way Norman thinks, by taking the researchers' survey. For instance, when a standard AI observed "a black and white baseball glove", Norman saw "a man murdered by machine gun in broad daylight.' The reaction is not just limited to one image, after showing multiple images, Norman talked only about murders and violent deaths".

And where a standard AI system saw a couple standing next to each other, Norman saw a man jumping out of a window.

If there is ever a need to prove just how insane and abusive the internet has made people, a recent artificial intelligence by MIT can be Exhibit A. Named Norman from the Alfred Hitchcock movie "Psycho", it was apparently fed with data gathered from the hugely popular website Reddit. Where standard AI saw opened umbrella, Normal interpreted the image as man shot in front of his screaming wife. MIT team members Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian, and Iyad Rahwan say the study proved their theory that the data used to teach a machine learning algorithm can greatly influence its behavior. In 2016, Microsoft entrusted an AI chatbot, created to learn from and appeal to the youth market, to Twitter. All Norman sees is evil quite literally.

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