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Possible Dangers of Computer-Generated Languages

September 21, 2017

The idea of computer systems shortening their learning curve via artificial intelligence is really nothing new. For readers old enough to remember, people left theaters in awe back in 1968 when Stanley Kubrick released his box office sensation 2001: A Space Odyssey. The story adapted from an Arthur C. Clarke short story followed two American astronauts (and three others in suspended animation) who were sent on a mysterious mission that led to an intense confrontation between man and machine. In this epic sci-fi adventure, the ship's computer (HAL 9000) methodically took control of the spacecraft (Discovery One) as well as the men's lives.  

Unfortunately, the vast majority of moviegoers only saw the story's entertainment value and dismissed the fact that Clarke and Kubrick may have been delivering a very intuitive warning. In a recent Forbes online article by Tony Bradley of, the author revealed that Facebook shut down an artificial intelligence engine after developers discovered it had created its own unique language. A new system of communicating that the staff was not able to translate. According to Bradley, researchers at Facebook's artificial intelligence lab got a personal glimpse of AI at its best and possibly its worse.

Although this may be the first encounter of this magnitude, many brilliant minds have warned leaders in academia, industry, business, government and the general population for decades about technological singularity. Of great interest to linguists and futurists is the fact that a new language, a more efficient means of communication between computer programs was determined by the technology to be a necessity for speeding the process (or evolution) of artificial intelligence. Something that physicist Stephen Hawking expounded upon when he cautioned everyone that AI could take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate, thus threatening all of mankind.

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