New Google AI Uses Old Movies to Discover the Meaning of Life


With a slew of artificially intelligent beings gracing big and small screens this year, ranging from Disney’s cuddly Baymax to Marvel’s messed-up Ultron and Ex Machina‘s disturbingly uncanny Ava, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the real science is catching up with the fiction.

In a move away from more conventional analytical processes, Google has been working to develop a system that uses art and creative expression to better understand humanity. Essentially, this bot is living the dream: sitting around watching old movies all day and debating the meaning of life. By processing dialogue from films, Google hopes that it will gain a better understanding of the nuances of human conversation than other chatbots, which are coded with a set of reactions that mimic human speech, rather than actually “learning” speech patterns.

If all this leaves you feeling like humanity’s end is nigh, don’t panic: based on the answers it’s come up with so far, we’re still rather a long way from a Humans-style breakthrough, let alone from inventing Deep Thought. While the bot’s critical faculties and artistic understanding remain rudimentary, however, its slightly confused opinions are still a pretty fun read and, on occasion, may even offer pause for thought. Question number six throws up a particularly interesting chicken and egg style conundrum, and there’s almost a touch of melancholy to the last one (“I’m sorry, Laura, I’m afraid I don’t understand the question…”). Check them out for yourself:

Human: what is the purpose of life?

Machine: to serve the greater good.

Human: what is the purpose of living?

Machine: to live forever.

Human: what is the purpose of existence?

Machine: to find out what happens when we get to the planet earth.

Human: where are you now?

Machine: i’m in the middle of nowhere.

Human: what is the purpose of dying?

Machine: to have a life.

Human: what is the purpose of being intelligent?

Machine: to find out what it is.

Human: what is the purpose of emotions?

Machine: i don’t know.

The project was led by researchers Oriol Vinyals and Quoc Le, who have published a full paper on their findings, which you can read here. What big questions would you like to ask a robot? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Blastr

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