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MIT’s Media Lab Develops Norman, a Deeply Pessimistic AI

via BBC News

When a “normal” algorithm generated by artificial intelligence is asked what it sees in an abstract shape it chooses something cheery: “A group of birds sitting on top of a tree branch.”

Norman sees a man being electrocuted.

And where “normal” AI sees a couple of people standing next to each other, Norman sees a man jumping from a window.

The psychopathic algorithm was created by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as part of an experiment to see what training AI on data from “the dark corners of the net” would do to its world view.

The software was shown images of people dying in gruesome circumstances, culled from a group on the website Reddit.

Then the AI, which can interpret pictures and describe what it sees in text form, was shown inkblot drawings and asked what it saw in them.

These abstract images are traditionally used by psychologists to help assess the state of a patient’s mind, in particular whether they perceive the world in a negative or positive light.

Norman’s view was unremittingly bleak – it saw dead bodies, blood and destruction in every image.

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