AI obsessed with murder after being exposed to "darkest corners of Reddit"

Norman AI

Norman AI

In this case, you can actually try to change the way Norman thinks, by taking the researchers' survey.

Norman - named after Norman Bates from Psycho - is trained to perform image captioning.

MIT's media lab said in promotional material for the robot: "Norman was inspired by the fact that the data used to teach a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behaviour". Beside the dark data sat Norman was also exposed to a dark Reddit documentary which was dedicated to note and observe the disturbing realities of a death and causes of it.

The scientists tested Norman to see how it would respond to inkblot tests- the ambiguous ink pictures psychologists sometimes use to help determine personality characteristics or emotional functioning. Norman consistently saw horrifying and violent images in 10 different inkblots where a standard AI saw much more benign images.

To test his sanity, Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian and Iyad Rahwan put their bot through the famous Rorschach test and compared Norman's responses to those of a standard image captioning bot.


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed what is likely a world first - a "psychopathic" artificial intelligence (AI). An algorithm itself is not unfair, biased, or negative, it's all about the information it absorbs.

In the first inkblot, a normally programmed AI saw "a group of birds sitting on top of a tree branch". Because of technical and ethical concerns, the team at MIT used captions and not actual images of people dying.

When the normal AI saw a black and white bird, a person holding an umbrella, and a wedding cake, Norman saw a man getting pulled into a dough machine, a man getting killed by a speeding driver, and "man is shot dead in front of his screaming wife".

Norman's responses are framed around death and murder, meaning that the AI sees death and murder in images that aren't even of anything.

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