Facebook Shuts Down AI After it Invents Its Own Language

AI is getting increasingly intelligent with each progressing day. First we saw Google’s Deepmind AI teaching itself how to walk. Now, in a recent development Facebook bots using AI diverged from the English language and created their own ‘more efficient’ means of communication.

This bizarre turn of events led the researchers to pull the plug on the system over fears that they risk losing control of the AI.

What Happened?

In an experiment to test out the ‘negotiating capabilities’ of their bots, Facebook put two of them, Bob and Alice, head to head to negotiate the best deal in a given scenario.

At first everything seemed normal as both the agents were communicating in plain English. But as time progressed, the bots started using repetitive words which made no sense according to English grammar.

Here’s one part of the conversation.

Bob: “I can 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.”

Apparently the bots started using a more efficient means of communication which only they understood and made no sense to us humans.

Why Did it Happen?

Why it happened has to do with how AI works. Researchers are trying to mimic the human brain’s neural network for use in machines. The thing is, we only have a limited processing capability and hence have to simplify things for our contemplation.

But when you add our way of thinking to a computer’s state of the art processors (which are capable of millions upon millions of computations each second), you start to see a change in the approach of solving problems.

AI has one aim and that is to complete a given objective as fast or as efficiently as possible (as long as other constraints are not placed).

In the case at hand, that aim was to negotiate the best deal. It didn’t matter how they did it but that they did. After trial and error, the AI learned that the English language was simply not efficient enough for quick communication and so it modified it to achieve its goal.

Researchers believe that instead of actually using numbers separately the bots started to integrate the quantities of objects within their conversation by repeating certain words like ‘i’ and ‘me’. This would appear to be a hassle for us but for computers it appears to be a more efficient mode of communication.


As with every other piece of tech, this aspect of AI is a double edged sword. On one hand it can be used to further increase the efficiency of our languages and provide the means for much faster communication between machines.

Google has already seen surprising results from this in their translation applications which are capable of translating languages much more efficiently. It can also work with languages it is not directly taught.

On the flip side, this may be giving too much control and power to machines. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record but machines taking control of themselves is a very real possibility and cannot be taken lightly.

So what do you guys make of this new ‘skill’? Would you be comfortable with machines communicating with each other in ‘coded languages’? Let us know in the comments.

Via Digital Journal