Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Some stories just beg to be written at a particular time. At midnight on Friday, the US Congress went into full-fledged meltdown mode. Despite having complete control of the House, the Senate, and the presidency, Republicans were unable to agree on how to keep the government functioning one minute longer, and so they shut it down. The recriminations and finger pointing have already begun, but the interesting bit is that new research indicates machines imbued with AI (artificial intelligence) may be better than humans at reaching compromises that benefit all stakeholders. The researchers developed an algorithm they call S#. Then they used machines programmed with that algorithm in a series of two player games to see how good they would be at cooperating. The games involved machine-to-machine, machine-to-human, and human-to-human interactions. More often than not, the machines did a better job of finding compromises that benefited both parties.

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"Two humans, if they were honest with each other and loyal, would have done as well as two machines," Crandall says. "As it is, about half of the humans lied at some point. So, essentially, this particular algorithm is learning that moral characteristics are good. It's programmed to not lie, and it also learns to maintain cooperation once it emerges."

Could machines teach us how to be better humans? Crandall thinks so. "In society, relationships break down all the time," he says. "People that were friends for years all of a sudden become enemies. Because the machine is often actually better at reaching these compromises than we are, it can potentially teach us how to do this better." Does this raise the possibility that machines could do a better job of governing? That is certainly an intriguing question. The most recent actions of the US Congress suggest that machines could not possibly do worse.

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Continuing from the read;
An interesting twist to this research is what some might call "the Trump factor." The AI bots did not have Twitter accounts they could use to send out tweets designed to humiliate opponents, but they were given the ability to employ trash talk in their deliberations. During the tests, they could reward their human counterparts with phrases like "Sweet. We are getting rich!" or "I accept your last proposal," if the humans cooperated.

But if the human actors attempted a betrayal or backed out of a deal, they could respond with things like "Curse you!," "You will pay for that!" or "In your face!" Interestingly, whether the machines were playing against each other or with a human, employing trash talk doubled the amount of cooperation in the games. So, apparently, insulting your opponent by telling them they come from a "-------- country" may actually be an effective negotiating strategy. Who knew?

#1 | Posted by Whizzo at 2018-01-23 03:51 PM | Reply

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Drudge Retort