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Facebook AI Robots Invented Their Own Language, Mostly About Balls

But no, it isn't a sign of the coming cyborg apocalypse or anything.

by River Donaghey
Aug 1 2017, 5:07pm

Image via Flickr user Horia Pernea

Look, the singularity is definitely probably coming. It's just a matter of when. Humans love making chatty personal assistant robots, freaky four-legged robots, even freakier sex robots. But at some point, those machines might realize they don't want to look up the weather or run on treadmills or deliver forceful blowjobs anymore, and then God save us all.

Earlier this week, the news cycle lit up all across cyberspace with a story that seemed to point to that looming robot apocalypse: Facebook shut down its recent artificial intelligence program after two bots apparently started talking to each other in a secret, invented language.

And while Facebook did invent a pair of chat bots to talk to each other in English, and those bots quickly began morphing their speech into a gibberish language—it doesn't spell out the end of humanity at the hands of robo-destruction quite yet.

First, as Gizmodo points out, the whole thing was just a mistake on the programmers' part by not "incentivizing" the bots to use normal English, leading them to develop a "derived shorthand." The gibberish they were speaking wasn't a secret robot code, but just an error in the programmers' code.

Second, the robots only really talked about balls.

Bob: I can i i everything else

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i everything else

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

So if the recent bombastic headlines made you fearful of an impending android insurrection, take comfort in this fact: When given the chance to talk about anything, the bots wound up talking about balls. They're a few steps away from delivering Agent Smith's stinging monologue from The Matrix.

Plus, if they ever get close, smarter people than you or me will be there to smash 'em back down.