Engineers for the social media company had been working on one of its artificial intelligence systems when two dialog agents struck up a conversation with each other, creating some mild panic among those thinking the Facebook A.I. was operating well outside of its intended parameters.
While researchers were fascinated by the development and not anxious about the language being a way for the bots to keep secrets from developers, Facebook had to shut down the programs due to the fact that they were being created to speak to humans, not in coded language to each other. The AI agents, created to negotiate with humans, first talked to each other using plain English, but eventually created a new language that only the AI systems understood.
That didn't happen in 1997, but 20 years later (isn't it weird that 1997 was 20 years ago?) in 2017, Facebook "shut down" a pair of artificial intelligence robots because they invented their own language.
After few days, the Bots started communicating in their own language breaking the prefixed norms by news ones completely made by them.
The seemingly freakish conversation between the two came about when Facebook challenged the chatbots to negotiate with each other on the trade of hats, balls and books, each of which was given a certain value.
"Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves", Batra explains.
"Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to" said one bot, Bob, to the other, Alice.
Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Researchers (Fair) were teaching the chatbots, artificial intelligence programs that carry out automated one to one tasks, to make deals with one another.
Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me...
At first glance the conversation resembled gibberish, yet the robots - named Bob and Alice - were actually communicating and negotiating trades.
"If I say "the" five times, you interpret that to mean I want five copies of this item". According to researchers, their process was a similar to how humans create languages.
Although what they said to each other looked repetitive and couldn't be understood by humans, the systems were able to understand what they had to do.
The initial spontaneous development of the independent language highlights how much we still don't understand about AIs, which is a huge part of the debate regarding AI research.