MIT Creates World’s First Psychopathic AI Named Norman

Judy Cobb
June 10, 2018

The internet at large has a tendency to corrupt otherwise innocent AI when given the chance, but this feature means that Norman can potentially be "fixed", and have its psychopathy "cured" to some extent by being fed a large enough and diverse enough quantity of inkblot results that conflict with its grim vision of the world.

As the researchers explain: "Norman is born from the fact that the data that is used to teach a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behavior".

Aptly named "Norman", like the character from Alfred Hitchcock's famous Psycho, the psychopath AI went on a diet of gruesome and violent content from a Reddit page known for its dark posts. Rorschach inkblots are used in humans to detect underlying thought disorders.

Norman's responses were compared with an artificially intelligent robot that had enjoyed a less disturbing education.

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In a prime example of artificial intelligence gone wrong, MIT performed the Rorschach inkblot tests on Norman, with a standard image captioning neural network used as a control subject for comparison.

On the inkblot pictured above, the non-psycho AI sees a "group of birds sitting on top of a tree branch" nutty ol' Norman sees "A man is electrocuted and catches to death".

When the normal AI saw a black and white bird, a person holding an umbrella, and a wedding cake, Norman saw a man getting pulled into a dough machine, a man getting killed by a speeding driver, and "man is shot dead in front of his screaming wife". The goal of Norman AI is to demonstrate that artificial intelligence can not be unfair and biased unless such data is fed into it. In other words, the researchers did not use true images of people dying during the experiment. 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. Norman is the way it is because of his biased programming.

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