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MIT Created the World’s First ‘Psychopath’ Robot and People Really Aren’t Feeling It

As if Will Smith didn’t make an entire movie warning us about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have now created the world’s first ‘psychopath’ robot.

Researchers at the MIT media lab have trained an AI algorithm nicknamed “Norman”—a reference to the character of Norman Bates in Psycho—to exhibit psychopathic tendencies by exposing it exclusively to gruesome and violent content from what they say is Reddit content page that is “dedicated to document and observe the disturbing reality of death.”

Here’s what MIT has to say about the whole thing:

We present you Norman, world’s first psychopath AI. Norman is born from the fact that the data that is used to teach a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behavior. So when people talk about AI algorithms being biased and unfair, the culprit is often not the algorithm itself, but the biased data that was fed to it. The same method can see very different things in an image, even sick things, if trained on the wrong (or, the right!) data set. Norman suffered from extended exposure to the darkest corners of Reddit, and represents a case study on the dangers of Artificial Intelligence gone wrong when biased data is used in machine learning algorithms.

Fortunately, Norman’s only capability is image captioning, which means the most damage it can do is produce some pretty chilling Rorschach inkblot descriptions. But that didn’t stop people from freaking out over the development.

 

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