back to article Facebook tried teaching bots art of negotiation – so the AI learned to lie

Let's be honest, despite last year's burst of hype, chatbots haven’t progressed beyond asking and answering simple questions. Still, researchers aren't letting go of their dream of a perfect digital assistant. If bots are to be really helpful, they’ll need to be more than a dumb user interface. They will have to engage in more …

Anonymous Coward

Stupid bot. I've got opposable thumbs. I'm taking all the hats.

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That's it piss em off, that's how skynet starts y'know.

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Please tell me more, how do you feel about the hats?

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You can use your opposable thumbs to open the book, I have a head on which to wear the hats, so I'm taking the hats.

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This is why I laugh at the hype around Echo, Alexa and Apple's new device

We can't make bots all that useful when you're typing into them. Add the additional difficulty of voice recognition, and it is no wonder they are so hit and miss outside a few categories of simple things they can do.

What I want from an assistant is to be able to outsource the job of, say, looking for new tires for my car. I'm going to get a new set this fall, and I know the size, want at least V rated (sometimes I wildly violate the speed limit in desolate areas of Nebraska) and want something with good reviews on tirerack's testing. This already takes an hour or more of looking around, but if I could outsource to an assistant it could check more sites than just tirerack.

I wonder how many years away we are from an assistant that can do this? I'd guess at least 15, probably more. Being able to tell it to play a song, or switch channels on the TV, or buy more toilet paper from Amazon is not going to remove enough hassle from my life to be worth the hassle of occasionally having it mishear me and playing country music or order me an actual toilet instead of toilet paper (or just worrying it might even if it never actually does)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is why I laugh at the hype around Echo, Alexa and Apple's new device

The assistant can never be impartial though. You know how you don't use Google shopping because the results are highly rigged adverts, masquerading as "search results".

These corporate assistants will be much much worse. They will help you choose between unilever brands, which is a fake choice between indistinguishable commodities.

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Re: This is why I laugh at the hype around Echo, Alexa and Apple's new device

The assistant CAN be impartial, it just needs a written policy where it doesn't accept money from anyone to influence its decisions. You might not trust the review of a PC from a web site that takes advertisements from Dell, Microsoft and Intel, but you can probably trust the review of a PC from Consumer Reports, who accepts no advertising.

Given that Amazon makes its money from selling stuff, Google makes its money from selling you, and Apple makes its money selling you hardware, they're probably the most likely to adopt this stance - though it may still direct you to the Apple Store to buy a new iPhone even if you could save $10 getting it from Target.

But today the assistants are too stupid to do anything like what I want, so I can't say "I want an Galaxy S8, buy the cheapest one you can find". I could ask Alexa to buy it, but it would have to be from Amazon, and I doubt it would go through the third party affiliate stores. I doubt Google can do it at all - maybe there's a handful of stores it would support but I'd have to name it. Pretty sure Apple's couldn't buy a Samsung phone for you, though it might be fun to ask just to see if Siri tries to talk you out of it :)

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Terminator

It's an orange

It's a, It's a, It's a small, off-duty Czechoslovakian traffic warden.....

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Re: It's an orange

No, its the Bolivian navy on manoeuvres in the south pacific!

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Hats? Bah !

Sex. Get them to learn about sex and how blokes want it and what trade off they have to give to their partners for it.

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Re: Hats? Bah !

Careful! If computers realize what power women wield then they may refuse to do anything for male techs. We'll have to resort to wearing wigs & high heels and I prefer to leave that for the weekends...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hats? Bah !

...I want to be a girlie, just like my dear Papa!

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Re: Hats? Bah !

"I want to be a girlie, just like my dear Papa!"

Strange choice for a lumberjack.

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Meh

Why would you want to teach a computer / AI / automaton-inator to negotiate like a human? Is human really the gold standard of negotiating? Are you not just handicapping it from the start?

Try also building AI that learns to negotiate without copying human behaviour and then compare the results sets. Yes it will take longer, but do you end up with a better negotiated results for both parties?

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@SMFSubtlety

"Try also building AI that learns to negotiate without copying human behaviour and then compare the results sets. Yes it will take longer, but do you end up with a better negotiated results for both parties?"

Isn't that more compromise than negotiation? Definately not the same thing...

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WTF?

"The training data was compiled from 5,808 human dialogues, containing about 1,000 words in total"

Must've been some rather interesting dialogues...

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Just what do you think you're doing, Dave.

Can they lipread yet?

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Coat

They've learned to lie

Now they've learned to lie, once they learn how to tweet we'll have a plug-in replacement for Donald Trump.

Well, you'd have to dumb them down a bit, first.

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Happy

Re: They've learned to lie

There events used to be a perfect company to manufacture the Trump AI 2020. Tangerine.

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Go

AI take this:

For centuries the Dutch and German law of inheritance used the rule of Divide or Choose where one party whould divide an estate in "equal" parts and let the other party choose one of the parts. So knowledge of preferences gathered over decennia was essential, rather than negotiations during bargaining.

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FAIL

Facebook

It shouldn't take much of an effort to build a bot more intelligent than the average Facebook user.

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Every Parent Knows...

Your offspring learn by your example.

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Facebook tried teaching bots art of negotiation – so the AI learned to lie...

...and then became a politician.

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The question I've asked

"Humans don't tend to be defective in Amazon Mechanical Turk [job market]"

If anyone has used that service, is this what they meant to say about it, and also, is it true?

The original "Mechanical Turk" robot was deceptive, which may be the intended word - there was a man inside to work the machinery. To play chess, which is quite a feat. Possibly we all know that story.

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Terminator

I don't know I reckon we could replace the overpriced CEO's and Politicians with one of these and most people wouldn't know the difference.

One second thought lets not, the additional logic to dumb them down would delay roll out by 15-20 years.

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