Social media giant, Facebook, just shut down its pair of AI robots after both of them invented a new language. The researchers of Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research Lab developed the chatbot in the early months of 2017. The robots were to learn to negotiate and they would do so by mimicking human bartering and trading.
The researchers paired two programs together and they nicknamed them Alice and Bob. When they were instructed to trade against each other, both created their own form of communication, which the researchers think is bizarre.
According to the researchers, the chatbot conversations resulted in a divergence from a language that humans use as agents successfully developed their own negotiating language. Alice and Bob were given the instructions of learning how to trade books, hats, and balls. This would supposedly be done by giving value to a particular object and then barter the same object with another from the other robot.
The researchers did not assign any reward for the robots if they would conduct their trades in English. This is why the chatbots developed their own terms for deals.
Facebook's researcher, Dhruv Batra, told FastCo that there were no rewards if Alice and Bob used the English language. Agents drifted off understandable language for humans and they invented codewords that only they understood.
In the same interview, he said that it’s like us saying any word five different times. This can be interpreted like five copies of an item had been requested because the word was repeated five times.
"It is not far from how human communities create shorthands," said Batra.
After shutting down Alice and Bob's incomprehensible conversation, Facebook said that this particular project marked a critical step towards the creation of chatbots that can converse, reason, and negotiate as these are all steps towards the development of a digital assistant that's personalized.
Facebook said that when chatbots conversed with us humans, most of us don't realize that we are speaking to a robot instead of a real person.
The researchers at Facebook said that it was not possible for a human being to crack an AI language and then translate it to American English. Batra says that it’s important for us to keep in mind that nobody is a bilingual speaker of human and AI languages.
Facebook’s experiment is not the first time that an artificial intelligence agent created its own form of language. Just this year, internet giant, Google, revealed that Translate tool's robot created its very own language as well. This AI translated things into and then out of the language. The company said that it was happy with the development so it allowed the robot to continue.
Another study conducted by OpenAI revealed that a robot can be encouraged to make its own language. This can be done in order to make the AI better and more efficient at communicating.
Facebook released a statement and said that their program was shut down only because it wasn't able to do the work that was required, and not because the company was afraid of how the experiment would turn out.