The buried line in the new Facebook report about one-on-one chatbots conversations provides a great glimpse into the future of the language.
In the report, researchers at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research Lab describe the use of machine learning to negotiate with their “dialogue agents.” (And bots seem to be very good at dealing with it.)
At one point, the researchers wrote, they had to adjust one of their models, otherwise the bot-to-bot dialogue “developed their language for negotiation, which led to the disagreement from human language to agents. “Instead they had to use the so-called fixed supervised model.
In other words, the model that allowed the two bots to communicate — and to use machine learning to continually redirect strategies for that conversation — led the bots to communicate in their non-human language. If it doesn’t surprise you and wonders about the future of machines and humanity.
Why the New Language?
AI agents work on a “reward principle” such as positive reinforcement. They are expected to take some sort of advantage in completing tasks and actions. Speaking English gave them no advantage, so they devised a new language to make communication more effective.
This language can be compared to the use of shorthand for humans. This is the way to create a more efficient and less time-consuming solution for communicating their ideas. However, we do not have that luxury for AI, as we humans have to teach other humans about shorthand
To be clear, Facebook’s chatty bots are not evidence of the arrival of the singular. Not even close. They demonstrate how machines have redefined public perception of many kingdoms that once believed to be a particularly human-like language.
Already, there is a good deal of work in machine learning research, which often involves accumulating massive data on the neural net, and then examining the output to understand how the machine thinks. The point that machines can compose their non-human ways of communicating is a surprising reminder of how little we know even when designing these systems.
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Facebook researchers wrote in their paper, “In particular in exploring other logical strategies and improving the diversity of pronunciations without distinguishing them from the human language.”
What’s the big deal?
AI serviced agents who speak in their language pose a threat to humans because we do not know what is being said in their conversion. This leads to a loss of control over artificial intelligence.
It is important to continue to make advances in science and technology, but on the other hand, if we lose control, we can at any moment have the classic case of Robot.There is still insufficient evidence to determine whether this new language poses a threat to agents that override their operators, but it may make development more difficult.