While the scientists are researchers at MIT are probably much, much smarter than the average person, it seems that they could probably stand to read a book or watch a movie once in a while, or at the very least watch Terminator or The Matrix.
It’s recommended, only because of their most recent project in artificial intelligence: Norman, the AI who’s also a psychopath.
According to CNN, the purpose 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.
Norman was fed a steady diet of blood, guts, and gore from an unnamed Reddit page, and then asked to spot images in a typical Rorschach test. 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.
This test actually has some practical uses. Microsoft infamously launched “Tay,” a Twitter AI that aimed to learn from the people interacting with it. However, they underestimated the depravity of the internet, and Tay turned into a racial slur-slinging Nazi within a day, forcing Microsoft to deactivate her account.
The eventual goal is to learn how to get AI’s to resist this kind of pressure, and return to normalcy. Maybe next time find a way to do that without creating a computer that only knows how to kill.