He shares his name with the knife killer in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho, and he even seems to have many of the same traits. American researchers have unveiled Norman, the world’s first “psychopathic artificial intelligence”.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) project aims to demonstrate how algorithms are created but also to raise awareness about the potential dangers of AI.
Norman, the subject of the experiment, was created and then “fed” only with descriptions of images of dying people found on Reddit’s Internet platform. Once the artificial intelligence was fully operational, the researchers submitted images of ink stains, such as Rorschach’s psychological test, to the machine to determine Norman’s behaviour and compare his responses to those of traditionally trained RNs.
For example, in one image, the traditional AI described “a group of birds sitting at the top of a tree branch,” but Norman saw “a man electrocuted by death. With another image, the traditional AI saw “a person holding an umbrella in the air,” while Norman described “a man shot in front of his screaming wife. Or a new ink stain revealed that the traditional AI saw a “black and white photograph of a baseball glove”, while Norman saw a man “murdered by a machine gun in broad daylight.
MIT said Norman “represents a case study of the dangers of artificial intelligence going wrong when biased data is used in machine learning algorithms.
Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian and Iyad Rahwan, who were part of the MIT team, said in a joint statement :
There is a central idea in machine learning: the data you use to teach a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behavior.”
The late Professor Stephen Hawking has repeatedly warned of the dangers surrounding the development of AI. Less than six months before his death, the world-renowned physicist declared that AI could completely replace the existence of humanity if its development went too far.
“If people design computer viruses, someone will design an AI that improves and replicates itself,” said Professor Hawking. It will be a new form of life that will surpass humans.”
A dedicated website, norman-ai.mit.edu, presents 10 examples of ink spots accompanied by comparative answers between a traditional AI and Norman.
Front page picture credit: MIT / norman-ai.mit.edu