AI NEWS - 18/08/2020

Will Elon Musk Succeed to Teach Computer to Speak Human by Using Reddit?

Daniel Oberhaus [CC BY-SA (]

Recently, Elon Musk expressed concerns about AI adoption and “summoning demons” on more than one occasion. However, once again, he got himself in the center of a challenging project based on Artificial Intelligence. This time, the CEO of the world-renowned inventor company Tesla will back OpenAI in teaching the supercomputer to use human language, a necessary skill needed to perform all other complex interactions.

The non-profit organization OpenAI will be leading the program, and Musk, as an essential part of the whole project, also has the full support of his longtime partner Peter Thiel.

The question is — how will the team be able to overcome the already known predicaments and the lack of adequate equipment for such demanding ventures?

Using The NVIDIA’s Supercomputer

One of the most significant obstacles for all Artificial Intelligence developing fields is the insufficient speed of existing computers. To be able to learn, computers need to process data much faster. Since the speed is a necessary request for successful machine learning, OpenAI must take DGX-1, a mighty supercomputer made by tech company NVIDIA.

The machine was initially made for the robotic arm, the AI Deep Learning system, and has substantial natural language input capacity. With 170 teraflops of computing power, it should be enough to create an algorithm that will not only understand human speech but also teach Artificial Intelligence to make clear and meaningful statements, equal to real human conversations.

A superior computer will solve the problem of the technical equipment necessary for natural language Machine Learning, but many other issues must be resolved as well.

What Is the Role of Reddit?

Another obstacle reflects the scarcity of the collected data. Artificial Intelligence needs to learn from as many different sources as possible to be able to discuss various topics. To create the most extensive and completed database, the Musk’s team decided to use years of discussion and wrote comments on social platform Reddit.

As the OpenAI lab explains, they opted for Reddit not only because the platform has always had incredible traffic, but also because of the wide range of different subjects Reddit has always supported. With 900,000 Subreddit communities, there is a countless number of discussions and comments in many life segments — from sports, politics, science, to traditional cake recipes, and more, at the same place. 

Even with a large amount of uncensored and offensive language, Reddit seemed to be the most abundant source that AI could use to study.

Possible Failure in Learning Human Language Correctly

Everyone is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the project. There are various forecasts, as the public still can’t forget the embarrassment with Tay, Microsoft’s chatbot which supposed to make intelligent conversations with people, but instead turned them into shockingly offensive language.

Although all social networks, including Reddit, make clear rules about content that should not be allowed or promoted, offensive comments and undesirable speech always find their way to the public.

There is a severe risk that machine learning could collect the “dirt” that trolls leave on the web, and turn robots who learned to talk intelligently into a real disaster. Again, if OpenAI manages to overcome such risks, then it is on the verge of developing the best AI prototype so far.

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