‘World’s first psychopath AI’ bot trained by viewing Reddit

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The researchers explain that Norman illustrates how the data used for the machine learning algorithm can have a huge impact on how it behaves and perceives the world.

According to CNN, the objective behind Norman (named after Norman Bates from the Hitchcock film, Psycho) isn't to eventually destroy all of humanity, but rather, to teach a lesson about how the kinds of conclusions an AI can make depends greatly on the data it's given. The researchers note that Norman is a case study aiming to see how AI could turn bad if its machine learning algorithms feed on this kind of data.

However, after plundering the depths of Reddit and a select subreddit dedicated to graphic content brimming with images of death and destruction, Norman's datasets are far from what a standard AI would be exposed to. This is a test that is used to detect underlying thought disorders. The MIT team have refused to name the subreddits used for training the AI. As Newsweek reports, Norman then responded differently to the testing than the more standard AI, seeing gory vehicle deaths rather than every day appliances or things like umbrellas. While a typical AI might see a close-up of a wedding cake on a table, Norman will look at that same inkblot test and see a man who had been murdered by a speeding driver.

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The goal with Norman was to prove that when people say that an AI can be biased and unfair, the fault isn't the algorithm but the biased data that the algorithm consumes. Then, they compared Norman's responses with a standard image captioning neural network on Rorschach inkblots.

Researchers and developers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have developed an artificial intelligence-based application that has been named Norman, after the lead character in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Another test saw the standard AI answer with, "a black and white photo of a small bird", while Norma responded with, "man gets pulled into dough machine". In inkblot #8, the regular AI sees "a person holding an umbrella in the air", while the psychopath AI sees "man is shot dead in front of his screaming wife".