Researchers Create A ‘Psychopath’ AI By Feeding It Reddit Captions

Norman AI

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created an algorithm named Norman, in tribute to the character Norman Bates in 1960 Hitchcock horror film Psycho, and trained it using gruesome picture captions, causing it to associate objects with death. "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 researchers wrote. Then, they fed Norman with data from Reddit, from a user "that is dedicated to document and observe the disturbing reality of death". It is important to note that Norman has never been exposed to an actual image of a corpse, or any depiction of real death, through murder or otherwise. We're thinking that this is what a group of researchers was thinking before creating Norman, a lab-bred maniacal deep-learning AI with a penchant for death by electrocution and gruesome auto accidents.

The robot, called Norman, was then tested by being instructed to generate descriptions of images that it was shown. The responses were compared to what an ordinary MSCOCO-trained AI returned, and you can see for yourself how twisted the AI is.

The MIT team thinks it will be possible for Norman to retrain its way of thinking vialearning from human feedback.

In the end, the scientists put Norman to take the well-known Rorschach inkblots test which is arguably measuring the psychological state of an individual. Artificial intelligence can be helpful for us, but things can go really wrong if such machines access certain types of data. Where a standard AI sees a vase of flowers, Norman sees "A man is shot dead".

Here are some of the answers Norman provided after 'looking at some inkblots.' A none-psycho an AI described the first image as "a group of birds sitting on top of the tree branch".

And for this image, a standard AI sees "a couple of people standing next to each other", While Norman sees "pregnant woman falls at construction story".

Microsoft's infamous Tay algorithm, launched in 2016, was meant to be a chat robot that could carry out autonomous conversations with Twitter users. All Norman sees is evil quite literally.

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