Of Interest: Artificial Intelligence Has No Use For Human Language

This article scares me.

Digital Journal: Researchers shut down AI that invented its own language

BY JAMES WALKER     JUL 21, 2017

An artificial intelligence system being developed at Facebook has created its own language. It developed a system of code words to make communication more efficient. Researchers shut the system down when they realized the AI was no longer using English. The observations made at Facebook are the latest in a long line of similar cases. In each instance, an AI being monitored by humans has diverged from its training in English to develop its own language. The resulting phrases appear to be nonsensical gibberish to humans but contain semantic meaning when interpreted by AI "agents."

Negotiating in a new language

As Fast Co. Design reports, Facebook's researchers recently noticed its new AI had given up on English. The advanced system is capable of negotiating with other AI agents so it can come to conclusions on how to proceed. The agents began to communicate using phrases that seem unintelligible at first but actually represent the task at hand.

In one exchange illustrated by the company, the two negotiating bots, named Bob and Alice, used their own language to complete their exchange. Bob started by saying "I can i i everything else," to which Alice responded "balls have zero to me to me to me…" The rest of the conversation was formed from variations of these sentences.

While it appears to be nonsense, the repetition of phrases like "i" and "to me" reflect how the AI operates. The researchers believe it shows the two bots working out how many of each item they should take. Bob's later statements, such as "i i can i i i everything else," indicate how it was using language to offer more items to Alice. When interpreted like this, the phrases appear more logical than comparable English phrases like "I'll have three and you have everything else."

English lacks a "reward"

The AI apparently realised that the rich expression of English phrases wasn’t required for the scenario. Modern AIs operate on a "reward" principle where they expect following a sudden course of action to give them a "benefit." In this instance, there was no reward for continuing to use English, so they built a more efficient solution instead.

"Agents will drift off from understandable language and invent code-words for themselves," Fast Co. Design reports Facebook AI researcher Dhruv Batra said. "Like if I say 'the' five times, you interpret that to mean I want five copies of this item. This isn't so different from the way communities of humans create shorthands."

AI developers at other companies have observed a similar use of "shorthands" to simplify communication. At OpenAI, the artificial intelligence lab founded by Elon Musk, an experiment succeeded in letting AI bots learn their own languages.

AI language translates human ones

In a separate case, Google recently improved its Translate service by adding a neural network. The system is now capable of translating much more efficiently, including between language pairs that it hasn’t been explicitly taught. The success rate of the network surprised Google's team. Its researchers found the AI had silently written its own language that's tailored specifically to the task of translating sentences.

If AI-invented languages become widespread, they could pose a problem when developing and adopting neural networks. There's not yet enough evidence to determine whether they present a threat that could enable machines to overrule their operators.

They do make AI development more difficult though as humans cannot understand the overwhelmingly logical nature of the languages. While they appear nonsensical, the results observed by teams such as Google Translate indicate they actually represent the most efficient solution to major problems.


Real-time Operations: Substation Simulator

The only time I get to play with real control panels in real-time operations is during training on our very cool substation simulator. Otherwise it's all at the click of a mouse anymore.


Music: Nine Inch Nails - This Isn't The Place

I'd Operate That...

Upper portion:
– is set to BIAS
– is set to ADAPTIVE
– is set to ABSOLUTE
• D.O.F. (1 – 8)
– is set to 6
– is set to STRONG
– gauge around the midpoint (3.0 / 44)
– there are four unused inputs
• S.A.S.C.
– reads +007516M
– is set to about a third (01 / -40)

Lower portion:
– is illegible, possibly broken. There is also a screw missing.
– is on
– is off
– is set to max: OBLIVION
– is set to min: INERTIA
– is set to mid: ISOLATE
– is set to max: REGRESS
– is set to mid: RESTRAIN
• is set to IDLE
- are both inactive
- reads +07
– reads 05122
– reads 02022
– gauge is around two thirds (18 / .7)
- is off
- is on
– there are four unused inputs
– is off
– is on
– dial is hovering indecisively between MANUAL / ADD VIOLENCE
– is inactive

#NIN #thisisnttheplace #realtimeops #addviolence

AT (After Trump): Kid Rock 2020

If you don't think it can't happen you're not paying attention.


Real-time Operations: Bobcat Causes Kansas Outage

Now that's something you don't see every day...

Bobcat Responsible for Kansas Power Outage

A power outage in southwest Kansas was found to be caused by a bobcat.
The Wichita Eagle reports that a crew from Wheatland Electric found the bobcat atop a 35-foot utility pole on Tuesday near Lakin. The animal came into contact with a pair of electrified lines and died immediately.

The line crew had used a bucket truck to take the dead bobcat and evaluate the electrical equipment for any further damage.

Wheatland had contacted the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office in Pratt once power had been restored.

The department has dispatched a game warden from Deerfield to assess the electrification.


Real-time Operations: Temperature Restrictions

Finding new and creative ways to let your co-worker know that their planned work is going to be outside of temperature restrictions. #realtimeops #kennyloggins #dangerzone #topgun #weather


Real-time Operations: Lineman Appreciation Day

The linemen, electricians and techs are the eyes, ears and hands of the system operator in the field. Their experience plays a big role in troubleshooting and making sure that everyone comes home safely. Thanks for everything you do!

#realtimeops #thankalineworker


The Davis Experience: Mayor Robb Davis

The Mayor of Davis is atypical of what I think of as a Mayor in a good way.

Davis Vanguard: Hate and Hospitality

By Robb Davis

Three Vignettes:

One: A dying village on the edge of the Sahara. We arrive late in the day to assess the nutritional status of children.  The village well is drying up.  They will have to leave soon. They offer us tea.  The village is devoid of animals… except for one chicken.  They ask “Do you eat chicken?” We say “No… please.  We do not eat chicken.”  They slaughter the bird—the last.  We eat with our heads hung low: honored guests feeling the burden of that honor.

Two: A street outside the airport in Islamabad.  My UN flight diverted from Peshawar on my way out of Mazar Esharif.  Ill from the effects of the harsh winter on the steppes leading to Uzbekistan. I am lost, with no idea how to get “home.”  He approaches and offers help.  He takes my hand, hails a taxi, ushers me in, rides with me chatting about the City.  Miles across town—a place I could not have found—he places me on a bus.  Pays the taxi and the bus fare, and tells the bus driver where to drop me in Peshawar.  We hug in parting and never meet again.

Three: A Masjid in Davis, CA.  Children play outside in the Ramadan night.  A car approaches, and tosses sheets of a torn up Qur’an at their feet.  His/her face is not known.  The car is not identified.  The children rush to tell their parents and they shake their heads in sad wonder at the purpose of such an act.

Two Points:

One: I learned of hospitality in places deep within the “Muslim world.”  I could multiply these vignettes by dozens and they would only scratch the surface of how my life was altered as I learned that hospitality is not merely a cup of tea or a meal shared, but rather the opening of one’s heart to the stranger.  I can never be the same for having experienced that kind of hospitality. My only hope is that I can offer the same.

Two: A hate incident is the opposite of hospitality.  It is the closing of a heart.  It is saying: “You are not welcome here.  Your kind has no place here.”  When it occurs we see those at whom it is directed made to feel unwelcome.  We see them doubt their place among us.  We see them shrink back into the shadows.

One Vignette:

We sit behind the masjid after prayers as Ramadan comes to an end. We share a simple meal.  We come together to challenge the hate by acts of mutual hospitality.  I say “You are welcome here” (such a small gesture).  They serve me food.  We are human together. My interlocutors are from Kazakhstan, the Kurdish region of Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the United States.  There is no rush.  There are many smiles.  And as the cool evening flows through us I wonder whether we can all agree to counter the hate via the day to day opening of our hearts; with the quotidian sharing of ourselves; with the dispensing of the kind of hospitality I was blessed to receive over all those years in all those places.

Robb Davis is the Mayor of Davis


Music: Ben Folds All U Can Eat

On the 4th of July I always tend to think of this Ben Folds Lyric:
God made us number one because he loves us the best

Well he should go bless someone else for a while
Give us a rest

All U Can Eat - Ben Folds

Son, look at all the people in this restaurant
What do you think they weigh?
And out the window to the parking lot
At their SUV's taking all the space

They give no fuck
They talk as loud as they want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there's enough for them

Gonna get on the microphone down at Wal-Mart
Talk about some shit that's been on my mind
Talk of the state of this great nation of ours
People look to your left

Yeah, look to your right
They give no fuck
They buy as much as they want
They give no fuck

Just as long as there's enough for them
Son, look at the people lining up for plastic
Wouldn't you like to see them in the National Geographic?
Squatting bare assed in the dirt eating rice from a bowl

With a towel on their head, and maybe a bone in their nose
See that asshole with the peace sign on his license plate?
Giving me the finger and running me out of his lane
God made us number one because he loves us the best

Well he should go bless someone else for a while
Give us a rest
(They give no)

Yeah, and everyone can see
(They give no)
We've eaten all that we can eat


Current Events: Happy 4th Of July

This afternoon I thought it would be fun to have "G" make a Fourth of July themed project so I got some paper, red and blue paint and some brushes; put on some traditional "patriotic" music and told her to paint the way the music sounded. Looking at it this evening I found myself liking less and less the genesis of the work. I then spent a while writing in a bit of the famous Carl Sagan passage from "The Pale Blue Dot" onto her artwork. I thought that on a day like tomorrow where we are supposed to be celebrating America's exceptionalism (what's left of it) that we start moving past the pettiness of that concept of U S A and start to see ourselves as one very fortunate human race. Happy 4th everyone. I'll have hell to pay for ruining G's picture tomorrow .

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand."

Funny: PDL Anti-Crime Dog

Poorly Drawn Lines

That's Bedtime Moron!


Music: Two New Tunes (The XX and Moog)


Here are two new songs that are heavy in the rotation right now:

"I Dare You" by a well established band The XX:

"Parachute (feat. Glenn Cunningham)" By Moog (a co-host on a popular YouTube car show Mighty Car Mods)

If you want to watch the episode of the show that I found the song on you can find it below.