Are You Prepared for an AI Takeover?
By Aditi Bhat
The idea of machines wanting to conquer the world is not new to us. After all, we have grown up watching our favourite heroes save the world from the nefarious plans of the evil machines. Something similar transpired a few days ago when there was a scare about Facebook shutting down its Artificial Intelligence (AI) program. The AI bots were said to be communicating in a language they invented on their own resulting in the termination of the program by Facebook.
Bots capable of developing code words
However, the latest development is that Facebook did not pull the plug on these bots because they developed their own language, which is said to have led to a panic situation. Here’s a snippet of the conversation between the bots:
Of course, the conversation looks cryptic and incomprehensible. However, as per a blog post published by Facebook in June, these bots were designed to showcase the possibility of dialogue agents to participate in convincing negotiations with humans or other bots while having the ability to arrive at a mutual decision. The purpose of creating these bots was to develop an AI program with the ability to learn from human interactions and negotiate like humans (without making the user realise that he/she is talking to a bot).
Source: Facebook AI Research
So while the bots were having a harmless conversation and sticking to what they were designed to do, the programmers realized that they had not programmed the chatbots to use the English language in the manner comprehensible to humans.
Visiting researcher at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR), Dhruv Bhatia, further explained that dialogue agents may invent code words while communicating with each other resulting in a conversation relying heavily on a derived shorthand.
Hawking and Musk warn about AI takeover
Now, we are not denying the possibility of bots developing their own language in the future, which humans may not be able to decipher. In fact, several visionaries and innovators like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have raised their concerns about the dangers of AI and how it can lead to the end of the human race, if not controlled properly.
AI has already showcased that it has a mind of its own. So it has the capacity to decide for itself – which may not always be in the favour of the creator of the machine/technology. While AI is expected to make things a lot more convenient for us, it is feared that this may come at a great price.
In fact, this is not the first time when AI has distressed humans. Google Lens is intelligent enough to predict your preferences (what you want to do), based on the objects it recognises through your phone’s camera. And this is just one of the several ‘scarily intelligent’ technologies we have come across in the past.
Data science and machine learning have come a long way. Advances in data science have helped us greatly. For example, data science is helping us with improved medical diagnostics. However, there are also instances of AI getting smarter (and out of control) and posing a threat to the human race. It all comes down to how we use this technology and what we choose to do with this power. If not used wisely, we may probably have to battle an army of Terminators, and we all know it spells a lot of trouble and destruction!
Let’s hope everything stays under control as long as we remain the ‘original’ intelligent species.