Robots and Man: the language barrier

We’ve been terrified by Stephen Hawking telling us our handy computer would one day overthrow us, we’ve heard Elon Musk predict the ‘end of humanity’ by its own creation, and now, Saudi Arabia has reached unprecedented heights when, just recently, it granted an ‘honorary’ citizenship to a robot, named ‘Sophia’. To be honest, we’re all obsessed with this ‘AI’ talk, but the question still remains: What is the truth? Could the greatest milestone in the history of mankind be its end? Or are these simply far-fetched conspiracy theories, merely the outcome of hallucinations?

Well, whatever you’ve been thinking of before, it is time to re-think it now, for while we’ve been busy speculating, these robots at Facebook have been pre-occupied making their own secret language. And the scary thing is that we don’t know what they’re saying. And what’s more, we don’t know their intentions either. And how they managed to do it.

And the list goes on.

On the first of August, 2017 scientists and researchers at Facebook shut down two of their artificial intelligence robots in a state of panic, after they had been reportedly conversing in a language unknown to humans. Facebook inventor and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has long been a supporter of projects to develop and promote Artificial Intelligence. It was no surprise, therefore, when Facebook expanded its operations recently, to include a whole new program to develop and test such AI robots and likewise machines.

However, such plans came to an abrupt halt, when two of these machines, Bob and Alice, somehow gained enough intelligence to be able to not only create their own mode of communication, but also speak fluently in it, and comprehend each other’s words.

The strange conversations came as Facebook tasked its chatbots to try and negotiate with one other over an exchange, endeavoring to swap caps, balls and books, each of which were given a specific value. But they soon broke down as the robots suddenly began to talk to each other in a language that they both understood, but which remained gibberish to scientists. Yet, we get the impression of there being a few standards to the discourse. The way the chatbots continue focusing on their own name appears to a piece of their conversation, not just a glitch in the way the messages are perused out. Some scientists have gone as far as suggesting that the repeated use of personal pronouns may be them referring to their personal problems, and attempting to exchange their feelings.

So, what could this mean? Is a conspiracy being hatched right under our noses, by our own creations, of which we are completely oblivious? Will this continue, so that robots eventually surpass Man, and become his masters? Only time will tell. On a side note, don’t be surprised if you wake up tomorrow to find robots in your house. Hawking might have been right, after all.

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