Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

MIT scientists created an AI-powered 'psychopath' named Norman

MIT scientists created an AI-powered 'psychopath' named Norman

Dubbed Norman, this is not your typical artificial intelligence system.

As the team highlights, AI algorithms can see very different things in an image if trained on the wrong data set. An algorithm itself is not unfair, biased, or negative, it's all about the information it absorbs.

Scientists, Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian, and Iyad Rahwan, exposed AI Norman, named after Anthony Perkins' character in Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho, to a continuous stream of grisly Reddit images of gruesome deaths and violence. Afterwards, they fed Norman with death-related images on an extremely dark subreddit and their captions.

MIT has created a new AI that we sincerely hope never escapes into the wild because this IS how you get Skynet. The way Norman describes the Rorschach inkblots with simple statements does make it seem like it is posting on a subreddit.

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MIT claims that Norman was developed to prove that the data set used to train a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behaviour or decision making capabilities.

In one inkblot, the standard AI might see "a closeup of a vase with flowers", while Norman sees "a man is shot dead". "Then, we compared Norman's responses with a standard image captioning neural network (trained on MSCOCO dataset) on Rorschach inkblots; a test that is used to detect underlying thought disorders", says MIT in a post on Norman's website.

In the first inkblot, a normally programmed AI saw "a group of birds sitting on top of a tree branch". In another case, the regular AI saw a couple standing together romantically, while Norman seeing a pregnant woman falling from a building.

For further details on Norman and more of its creepy captions, check out this link.

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MIT fed Norman with data from the "darkest corners of Reddit".

In 2016, Microsoft apologised for creating an online "chatbot" that quickly turned into a Holocaust-denying racist.

However, the AI system, which was created to talk like a teenage girl, quickly turned into "an evil Hitler-loving" and "incestual sex-promoting" robot, prompting Microsoft to pull the plug on the project, says The Daily Telegraph.

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