Artificial Intelligence Can Now Emulate Human Behaviors—Soon It Will Be Dangerously Good

Ana Santos Rutschman, Saint Louis University

When artificial intelligence systems start getting creative, they can create great things—and scary ones. Take, for instance, an AI program that let web users compose music along with a virtual Johann Sebastian Bach by entering notes into a program that generates Bach-like harmonies to match them.

Run by Google, the app drew great praise for being groundbreaking and fun to play with. It also attracted criticism, and raised concerns about AI’s dangers.

My study of how emerging technologies affect people’s lives has taught me that the problems go beyond the admittedly large concern about whether algorithms can really create music or art in general. Some complaints seemed small, but really weren’t, like observations that Google’s AI was breaking basic rules of music composition.

In fact, efforts to have computers mimic the behavior of actual people can be confusing and potentially harmful.

Impersonation technologies

Google’s program analyzed the notes in 306 of Bach’s musical works, finding relationships between the melody and the notes that provided the harmony. Because Bach followed strict rules of composition, the program was effectively learning those rules, so it could apply them when users provided their own notes.

The Google Doodle team explains the Bach program.

The Bach app itself is new, but the underlying technology is not. Algorithms trained to recognize patterns and make probabilistic decisions have existed for a long time. Some of these algorithms are so complex that people don’t always understand how they make decisions or produce a particular outcome.

AI systems are not perfect—many of them rely on data that aren’t representative of the whole population or that are influenced by human biases. It’s not entirely clear who might be legally responsible when an AI system makes an error or causes a problem.

Now, though, artificial intelligence technologies are getting advanced enough to be able to approximate individuals’ writing or speaking style, and even facial expressions. This isn’t always bad: a fairly simple AI gave Stephen Hawking the ability to communicate more efficiently with others by predicting the words he would use the most.

More complex programs that mimic human voices assist people with disabilities—but can also be used to deceive listeners. For example, the makers of Lyrebird, a voice-mimicking program, have released a simulated conversation between Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton. It may sound real, but that exchange never happened.

From good to bad

In February 2019, nonprofit company OpenAI created a program that generates text that is virtually indistinguishable from text written by people. It can “write” a speech in the style of John F. Kennedy, J.R.R. Tolkien in “The Lord of the Rings” or a student writing a school assignment about the U.S. Civil War.

The text generated by OpenAI’s software is so believable that the company has chosen not to release the program itself.

Similar technologies can simulate photos and videos. In early 2018, for instance, actor and filmmaker Jordan Peele created a video that appeared to show former U.S. President Barack Obama saying things Obama never actually said to warn the public about the dangers posed by these technologies.

Be careful what videos you believe.

In early 2019, a fake nude photo of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez circulated online. Fabricated videos, often called “deepfakes,” are expected to be increasingly used in election campaigns.

Members of Congress have started to look into this issue ahead of the 2020 election. The U.S. Defense Department is teaching the public how to spot doctored videos and audio. News organizations like Reuters are beginning to train journalists to spot deepfakes.

But, in my view, an even bigger concern remains: Users might not be able to learn fast enough to distinguish fake content as AI technology becomes more sophisticated. For instance, as the public is beginning to become aware of deepfakes, AI is already being used for even more advanced deceptions. There are now programs that can generate fake faces and fake digital fingerprints, effectively creating the information needed to fabricate an entire person—at least in corporate or government records.

Machines keep learning

At the moment, there are enough potential errors in these technologies to give people a chance of detecting digital fabrications. Google’s Bach composer made some mistakes an expert could detect. For example, when I tried it, the program allowed me to enter parallel fifths, a music interval that Bach studiously avoided. The app also broke musical rules of counterpoint by harmonizing melodies in the wrong key. Similarly, OpenAI’s text-generating program occasionally wrote phrases like “fires happening under water” that made no sense in their contexts.

As developers work on their creations, these mistakes will become rarer. Effectively, AI technologies will evolve and learn. The improved performance has the potential to bring many social benefits—including better health care, as AI programs help democratize the practice of medicine.

Giving researchers and companies freedom to explore, in order to seek these positive achievements from AI systems, means opening up the risk of developing more advanced ways to create deception and other social problems. Severely limiting AI research could curb that progress. But giving beneficial technologies room to grow comes at no small cost—and the potential for misuse, whether to make inaccurate “Bach-like” music or to deceive millions, is likely to grow in ways people can’t yet anticipate.The Conversation

Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

◊♦◊The Good Men Project is different from most media companies. We are a “participatory media company”—which means we don’t just have content you read and share and comment on but it means we have multiple ways you can actively be a part of the conversation. As you become a deeper part of the conversation—The Conversation No One Else is Having—you will learn all of the ways we support our Writers’ Community—community FB groups, weekly conference calls, classes in writing, editing platform building and How to Create Social Change.

◊♦◊

Here are more ways to become a part of The Good Men Project community:

Request to join our private Facebook Group for Writers—it’s like our virtual newsroom where you connect with editors and other writers about issues and ideas.

Click here to become a Premium Member of The Good Men Project Community. Have access to these benefits:

  1. Get  access to an exclusive “Members Only” Group on Facebook
  2. Join our Social Interest Groups—weekly calls about topics of interest in today’s world
  3. View the website with no ads
  4. Get free access to classes, workshops, and exclusive events
  5. Be invited to an exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” with other Premium Members
  6. Commenting badge.

Are you stuck on what to write? Sign up for our Writing Prompts emails, you’ll get ideas directly from our editors every Monday and Thursday. If you already have a final draft, then click below to send your post through our submission system.

If you are already working with an editor at GMP, please be sure to name that person. If you are not currently working with a GMP editor, one will be assigned to you.

◊♦◊

Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:

submit to Good Men Project

◊♦◊

Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:

◊♦◊

Do you have previously published work that you would like to syndicate on The Good Men Project? Click here:

Join our exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” — where community members are encouraged to discuss the issues of the week, get story ideas, meet other members and get known for their ideas? To get the call-in information, either join as a member or wait until you get a post published with us. Here are some examples of what we talk about on the calls.

Want to learn practical skills about how to be a better Writer, Editor or Platform Builder? Want to be a Rising Star in Media? Want to learn how to Create Social Change? We have classes in all of those areas.

While you’re at it, get connected with our social media:

◊♦◊

However, you engage with The Good Men Project—you can help lead this conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Join us!

bottom of post widget GMP community logo (1)

Do you want to talk about how to have richer, more mindful, and enduring relationships?

◊♦◊

We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.

Shutterstock ID: 424934146

The post Artificial Intelligence Can Now Emulate Human Behaviors—Soon It Will Be Dangerously Good appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2Iq6arh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s