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10 June 2018, 03:47 | Megan Pierce
MIT Norman Project Meet Norman the ‘psychopath’ AI trained on violent Reddit content
Don't we have enough insane people in the world? Norman is born from the fact that the data that is used to teach a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behavior. Norman was trained using data from the "darkest corners of Reddit", and then his responses were checked using Rorschach's inkblot tests.
However, for the study, the researchers trained Norman by exposing it to image captions from an unnamed but "infamous" subreddit that contains "graphic content".
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'sPsycho. Norman consistently saw horrifying and violent images in 10 different inkblots where a standard AI saw much more benign images.
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After feeding Norman all sorts of morbid data from Reddit, the researchers made the psychopath AI take Rorschach inkblot tests and compared the results with those of a standard AI.
You can see some of the comparisons below. The MIT team have refused to name the subreddits used for training the AI.
"Norman only observed horrifying image captions, so it sees death in whatever image it looks at", the researchers told CNNMoney. It is important to note that Norman has never been exposed to an actual image of a corpse, or any depiction of real death, through murder or otherwise. For example one inkblot test saw the standard AI give a response which read, "a group of birds sitting on top of a tree branch", whereas Norman responded by saying, "a man is electrocuted and catches to death". "So when we talk about AI algorithms being biased or unfair, the culprit is often not the algorithm itself, but the biased data that was fed to it". " Another test saw the regular bot report "a black and white photo of a small bird", when Norman said it shows the moment a "man gets pulled into dough machine".
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