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An awkward incident has occurred in what could be termed as a limitation in the developing AI technology field. In this development, after being fed with murder images from Reddit, this AI now interprets all images as murder-related. Reddit has seriously disturbed this AI, Norman, following an MIT study. Norman’s main function is to generate textual descriptions of images. The feedback from Norman so far, no matter the image, is now all about murder.


How do Artificial Intelligence (AI) Machines Work?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines are designed to mimic human behaviour in certain ways. They are created to be able to interpret information and produce feedback. Feedback from Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines can come in different forms. Text, speech, action have all been generated from Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines. However, the summary of feedback from any Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine is as a result of the fundamental algorithm with which it is trained. This determines how any given Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine will interpret information.

The case of Norman might seem isolated. However, it is still a reason for concern in an industry that is growing so quickly and expected to start playing a key role in mainstream society. Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines are already being employed to take care of routine exercises that are usually carried out by humans. This provides a cost saving process for many companies, and also creates room for more predictable outcomes that are free from emotions. 

When cases like this with absolute misinterpretation of processes begin to arise, it sends shockwaves across the industry. Imagine an unmanned drone that is supposed to attack an enemy misinterpreting instructions. This could end in serious disaster. Or some autonomous vehicle going out of control in a high density area. That will be really bad for the technology and the industry at large.

In the case of Norman, maybe this will serve as a wake up call for AI developers. More attention will have to be paid towards the development of AI machines going forward. Something as serious as murder isn’t a joke, it needs to be corrected immediately, and measures taken to avoid a reoccuerrence.

What Are The Benefits Of AI To The Economy?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines are helping companies to plan better and set more precise goals in areas where they are compatible. Of course, they may not be employed in processes that require spontaneous decision making, at least not for now. However, their use in routine processes have created a significant market that was worth over $5 billion in revenue in 2015. This market is growing exponentially and is expected to reach $12.5 billion by the year 2020.

A very trivial example of the benefits of implementing AI is in how you can have operations running non-stop. They don’t get tired, no going home for the day to check on family members, no moody workdays. It is all about work and productivity round the clock. This is why the impact of AI technology on businesses is expected to increase productivity by up to 40%. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines Need To Learn Better

Software companies are working tirelessly in an effort to meet up with the industry demands of this emerging technology. Already, existing implementation is seen in areas like autonomous vehicles and unmanned drones. Other useful and critical areas are also finding application of AI technologies. This is why errors like Norman are great issues of concern. Interpreting “A black and white photo of a small bird” as “A man getting pulled into dough machine” could have grave consequences in real life.

The phenomenon where data from Reddit confuses the thinking process of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine like Norman is a typical example of the old description of computers, “Garbage in, garbage out”. This also calls for more care in how Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines are trained and the algorithm bias involved.

AI is in a Learning Curve

The case of Norman does not in any way represent failure in the processes of creating Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines. Such a scenario is not new in the field of science. It is a learning curve, and an important point where proper direction can be derived from. 

AI technology has not come this far without some significant resistance either. There are those in the industry who also point out the possible risks involved in AI implementation. Most of the resistance however is not in the form of total rejection of the technology. It is more about the extent, and limits of implementation. The protest by 5,000 Google employees is still fresh in our minds. 

Without a doubt Reddit has seriously distrubed this AI. Norman has taught us a lesson, and revealed a weakness that has to be dealt with. Many more processes will show up in the years to come. Set backs like this, where data from Reddit confuses the thinking process of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine does not kill the technology. Rather it reveals an area where work needs to be done, and improvements made to achieve a more formidable product.