MIT's Psycho Norman AI Proves Reddit Can Make You Insane

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MIT's Psycho Norman AI Proves Reddit Can Make You Insane

Researchers at the MIT media lab have trained an AI algorithm nicknamed "Norman"-a reference to the character of Norman Bates in Psycho-to exhibit psychopathic tendencies by exposing it exclusively to gruesome and violent content from what they say is Reddit content page that is "dedicated to document and observe the disturbing reality of death".

MIT used deep learning algorithms to train the program to caption images. The researchers note that Norman is a case study aiming to see how AI could turn bad if its machine learning algorithms feed on this kind of data.

To test his sanity, Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian and Iyad Rahwan put their bot through the famous Rorschach test and compared Norman's responses to those of a standard image captioning bot.

The results of the comparison are below.

You can see some of the comparisons below.

"Since Norman only observed horrifying image captions, it sees death in whatever image it looks at", the developers said.

The scientists tested Norman to see how it would respond to inkblot tests- the ambiguous ink pictures psychologists sometimes use to help determine personality characteristics or emotional functioning. The people who brought the world the aptly-named Nightmare Machine and Shelley, the world's first collaborative A.I. Horror Writer, are at it again with their new A.I., Norman, named after the knife-wielding nut job at the heart of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. When the standard AI saw a black and white photo of a small bird, Norman saw a man getting pulled into a dough machine. Another image is captioned as a man with an umbrella by the standard A.I., while Norman sees as "a man shot dead in front of his screaming wife".

"So when people say that AI algorithms can be biased and unfair, the culprit is often not the algorithm itself, but the biased data that was fed to it".

MIT's research highlights the importance of training AI on the right data set.

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