A Facebook AI Project Developed Its Own Language

Artificial intelligence is a growing field for tech companies, but a recent experiment from Facebook showcased an unintended consequence of the new technology.

As part of a project on machine learning applications, Facebook researchers worked on developing artificial intelligence-powered agents that would be able to negotiate with themselves. In the test, the agents were tasked with automatically figuring out ways to split a group of items. In addition, both agents had specific values assigned to each item, ensuring that they couldn’t come to a draw.

Read: Artificial Intelligence Will Turn Against Us, Says John McAfee

However, when the bots started talking to one another, something interesting happened. Via Fast Company, here’s a partial transcript of their chat log:

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i everything else

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

Bob: i . . . . . .. . . . .  .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i i i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have 0 to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

This might look like nonsense, but according to Facebook, this conversation was yet another example of AI dynamically generating its own contextual language and the ability to understand conversations. Dhruv Batra, a visiting Facebook AI research scientist from Georgia Tech, told Fast Company that for the AI agents, there wasn’t any guidance to stick to typical English sentence structure, so they made up the difference on their own.

“Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves,” Batra said. “Like if I say ‘the’ five times, you interpret that to mean I want five copies of this item. This isn’t so different from the way communities of humans create shorthands.”

Part of this phenomena has come from the type of work researchers are doing….

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