Artificial Intelligence: What could go wrong?
MIT Scientists Unveil First Psychopath AI, 'Norman'
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled the first artificial intelligence algorithm trained to be a psychopath. The AI was fittingly dubbed "Norman" after Norman Bates, the notorious killer in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
We may be on the verge of creating a new life form, one that could mark not only an evolutionary breakthrough, but a potential threat to our survival as a species
MIT scientists Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian and Iyad Rahwan trained Norman to perform image captioning, "a deep learning method" that allows AI to generate text descriptions for images. However, the team exclusively exposed Norman to violent and disturbing images posted on a subreddit dedicated to death.
They then gave Norman a Rorschach inkblot test and the AI responded with chilling interpretations such as, "a man is electrocuted and catches to death," "pregnant woman falls at construction" and "man is shot dead in front of his screaming wife." Meanwhile, a standard AI responded to the same inkblots with, "a close up of a vase with flowers," "a couple of people standing next to each other" and "a person is holding an umbrella in the air."
While Norman may conjure dystopian images of killer robots, the MIT team said the purpose of the experiment was to prove that AI algorithms aren't inherently biased, but that data input methods – and the people inputting that data – can significantly alter an AI's behavior. As Newsweek pointed out, there have been several notable cases where racism and bias have crept into machine learning, like the Google Photos image recognition algorithm that was classifying black people as "gorillas."