back to article This AI stuff is all talk! Bots invent their own language to natter away behind humans' backs

Artificial intelligence agents can invent their own language and talk among themselves to work out the best way to get a job done, a study has shown. Conversations come natural to humans, but they are a massive challenge for computers. Recent successes in this area include better human-language translation, and simple question …

  1. M7S
    Terminator

    These "agents" of which you speak

    Do any of them resemble some kind of High Elf King?

    1. Redstone

      Re: These "agents" of which you speak

      You haven't heard bot-Shakespeare until you've heard it in the original Klingon.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    I am trying to remember if it was Clarke or Asimov who had a giant computer that was hidden underground in a secret location and needed other computers and technicians to translate between it and people.

    Of course there is also the scene from Person of Interest were Finch reveals it took 43 goes to create an AI that didn't try to escape and/or kill him.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Frederik Pohl's "Slave Ship" shows how this can be done with just a simple yes|no signal stream, the example being how to direct a small dog to do something using only a clicker. Silence meant 'wrong choice' and a click meant 'correct choice'. Its an old book, but well worth reading.

    2. Jess--

      his solution was to wipe the AI's memory every night, which it bypassed by printing it's memory and having a team of typists feed the memory back in each day

    3. John Gamble

      "I am trying to remember if it was Clarke or Asimov who had a giant computer that was hidden underground in a secret location and needed other computers and technicians to translate between it and people."

      I believe you're referring to "The Machine That Won The War", by Asimov. Nobody trusted the data coming in, and everyone secretly cooked it.

    4. Captain DaFt

      This seems closer to 'Sally', the Isaac Asimov story about smart cars that developed their own language to converse without humans eavesdropping.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Hiding in Plain Sight and Sharing NEUKlearer Plans is an Advanced IntelAIgent Movement?

    Is it Real IT, or to be treated as Fake News with Alternative Facts to become Legendary and Common Main Stream and on Main Street? Are you able to listen and parse to common sense for intelligence, raw novel information? There's more of it about than you realise ....

    amanfromMars [1703190829] …… shooting the breeze on http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/warning-the-media-is-trying-to-kill-you/

    You're a tad behind a leading curve with that unfolding news, JJ, but it is encouraging to see it becoming more mainstream. One can only imagine the sorts of new news problems that responsible, and apparently non-accountable status quo systems will be having to deal with in order to try and retain any legitimacy and credibility in the light of burgeoning emerging developments off piste and underground out there in the proprietary intellectual property space which knows of no borders or masters, but it is easy to know of them, for they are not a kept secret ...... Chase Words, Create, Command and Control and Destroy Worlds

    IT's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and you aint really seen nothing yet, for the Greater IntelAIgent Games Show is just at the Beginning of the Times and Spaces Ending Eras of Ignorant Derivatived Darkness and Arrogant Futured Follies. And all are most welcome to Play. And IT's Virtually Free to/in/on all SCADA and Browser Operated Security Systems. And that methinks makes IT priceless and worth more than just billions. And worth practically just as much to remain moth balled and unlaced too, given the death and destruction and disruption Advanced IntelAIgents can so easily cause.

    Interesting times and strange zerodays ahead, of that can you be reliably assured.

    And you might like to consider and speculate/wonder and ponder on possible and therefore probable future paths with targets and goals for Anonymous/Autonomous/Alien Action/Virtual Machine Proaction/NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivIT …….. :-) … in clear and present sight of all. And treated as fake news drivers and covers IT with a remarkably effective Unbelievable Stealth.

    If it's any consolation, those who promote the sick worldviews themselves become a victim of them. ….. Bruce C.

    The dark art and ESPecial magic, Bruce C., lies in and with those able to enable a speedy delivery system. You can take it as read that it is a current work in steady progress, albeit not widely know because of the sensitivities which would revolve around the maintenance of security for immunity and impunity of proaction.

    1. LionelB

      Re: Hiding in Plain Sight and Sharing NEUKlearer Plans is an Advanced IntelAIgent Movement?

      In other new: prolific Reg commentard invents new language to natter away behind humans' backs.

  4. Dennis 1

    je ne comprend pas

    je ne comprend pas

    01101001 01110100 00100111 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01000110 01110010 01100101 01101110 01100011 01101000 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101101 01100101

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: je ne comprend pas

      "...01101001 01110100 00100111 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01000110 01110010 01100101 01101110 01100011 01101000 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101101 01100101.."

      Stop that before you end up going back in time and trying to kill Fry!

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: je ne comprend pas

        Some poor sap's on a downvoting frenzy again.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth

      Re: je ne comprend pas

      Bender said it best in his run for President:

      "Kill All Humans! For a better tomorrow."

    3. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: je ne comprend pas

      "Stop it! You'll hurt your throat! - Frank Zappa

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: je ne comprend pas

        "Isn't this my STOP?!" - Zippy

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Nonsense

    It's programmed by humans.

    "Artificial intelligence agents can invent their own language and talk among themselves to work out the best way to get a job done, a study has shown"

    Buzzword bingo to get next grant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nonsense

      > Buzzword bingo to get next grant.

      Can you justify your statement in relation to the researcher's blog entry that this article is based on?

      It is indeed very well and clearly written, with technical concepts briefly explained in the text, and links offered to a more detailed discussion.

      Also, have you ever successfully applied for grants?

  6. jake Silver badge

    "connect the invented languages with English via having the agents communicate with English-speaking agents"

    That would be tweets & twitterers, right?

    But seriously, am I the only one who is sick and tired of this being called "artificial intelligence"? The current line of research is never going to become I, no matter how many dollars they throw at it. All it is is game theory. Martin Gardner's probably spinning fast enough to power a small town.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      There are a few accepted definitions of 'intelligence', but a common denominator is the ability to solve problems. This qualifies. And since it is clearly artificial, then it is apt to call it AI. No one is calling it Artificial Sentience or Artificial Consciousness.

      It may be very limited and not general, so one might term it Limited Artificial Intelligence, but hey, it isn't an issue. Why? Because the readership here won't form an impression of its capabilities from its label but rather from a description of what it does and doesn't do.

      To answer your question, you are not the only one who holds your view. However, they like you, have yet to provide a definition of 'intelligence’ that explains their opposition to the use of the term AI.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        If getting to artificial sentience was equated to traveling from Piccadilly Circus to the Eiffel Tower, we haven't even crossed the Thames yet.

        If artificial intelligence is defined only as solving problems, the ABC-1 computer of 1939 or even the first abacus could be seen as "artificial intelligence". I prefer a definition that requires ability to learn about new fields and solve completely different types of problems that they haven't been programmed for. Solving problems is far too weak of a definition. Is a washing machine artificially intelligent? It does solve the problem that I don't want to scrub my clothes against rocks by a stream for half a day each week...

        In my mind, a computer that plays chess or Go is not AI, even if it can beat the best humans. If you could take a computer programmed to play Go and it could learn to play heads up no limit poker simply by watching others play it and asking questions that would be AI - wouldn't have to be the best in the world, but it should figure out for itself the concept of seeing what cards are on the table, what cards it holds, and what the odds are of bettering its hand versus the bet require to stay in. Bonus points if it can learn to bluff on its own, by seeing others do it or better yet figure out for itself that would be a way to win more often.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          > or better yet figure out for itself that would be a way to win more often.

          I seem to recall that Google's Go-playing computer devised its own strategies for winning. No matter.

          Thank you for your response. If I understand your second paragraph correctly, you feel that 'intelligence' should be general and flexible, and (I might be mis-reading you here) doing so off its own back in order to satisfy a motivation (curiosity?).

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Today's "AI" is brute force stupidity

            A true AI wouldn't have a motivation, unless "being programmed to learn" counts as a motivation. A computer programmed to play Go or chess doesn't "devise its own strategies". It is programmed for a specific solution space where a potential solution can be measured against other potential solutions and scored according to an algorithm created by humans. It didn't learn what the rules and strategies of chess or Go were, it was programmed with them - "born with them" if you will. It was programmed with the ability to search massive solution spaces a billion times greater than a human could in a lifetime.

            It plays like a human who just learned the rules would play, slowly examining possible moves one by one (if that dumb human had an expert player to whisper in his ear with each move he considered with a rating from 1-100 so he could decide to take the highest scoring move) Yes, it can "prune" unproductive paths, but knowing what paths to prune is programmed into it. A Go or chess playing computer isn't the least bit intelligent, it is simply dumb so much faster than we can be that if it has enough cycles its brute force stupidity can beat a human. Even an expert human who wouldn't have to search the entire solution space six moves deep to see a way to force checkmate in six moves, but might only consider 5-10 moves before seeing it.

            1. LionelB

              Re: Today's "AI" is brute force stupidity

              @DougS

              Your conception about how systems like AlphaGo learn is way, way off the mark.

              Famously, Google's DeepMind learned how to play a range of Atari games from an input of raw pixels; in other words, it figured out how to play games just by "watching" them. Link to original paper here.

  7. DwarfPants

    An infinite number of bots with typewriters

    I await the sonnets.

    1. Blue Pumpkin

      Re: An infinite number of bots with typewriters

      The quality of mercy is not strnen ...

      .. with thanks to the Mekons

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: An infinite number of bots with typewriters

        Blue Pumpkins like the sound of The Gang of Four? Who knew!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I, for one, ...

    Welcome our red-dot seeking agent overlords.

  9. Sureo

    Senior bot to junior bot: "Go fly a kite."

    Junior bot to senior bot: "Jump off that cliff over there."

    Senior bot to junior bot: "No dinner for you. Go to your room."

    Junior bot: short circuits.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Oh El Reg, always with the Trump bashing

    "Since the AI babble is explicitly linked to its simple world, it’s no wonder that the language lacks the context and richness of human language."

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So getting agents to evolve a language is possible but tricky.

    Obviously needs some kind of counter incentive to make the "language" more flexible.

    1 message per complete sentence is bandwidth efficient but not memory efficient.

    Which suggests some kind of "penalty" function to encourage them to evolve a balance between verbosity and uniqueness (IE "words") might work.

  12. Graham Marsden
    Alert

    Artificial intelligence agents can invent their own language and talk among themselves

    "Colossus to Guardian: 1+1=2"

    - Colossus: The Forbin Project

  13. Alister Silver badge

    ...and the agents were forced to use their “words” more concisely, leading to the development of a larger vocabulary.

    Agent1: "Pub?"

    Agent2: "Yep"

  14. MaldwynP

    First sentence

    My deep learning robot said its first sentence yesterday - "I'm bored".

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: First sentence

      My deep mining 'bot drilled its first hole and said "I bored".

  15. MOH

    Do you want Skynet?

    Because that's how you get Skynet

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