Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

With the growth of machine learning and its immediate manifestation in much smarter artificial intelligences, it’s been easy in recent years to make Skynet jokes any time we see a computer do something moderately impressive. Combine this with warnings from people like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking about our future obsolescence at the hands of the machines, and their eerie, semi-relatable attempts to draw things or sing songs is a shortcut to any Hal 9000 joke we want to make.

That being said, this story about two Facebook artificial intelligences inventing a new language to communicate with each other is a uniquely troubling trip into the uncanny valley. The two programs (intelligences?) were made to dialog with humans as well as each other, but eventually their conversations with each other turned into shit like this:

Bob: i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

Bob: i i can i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have a ball to me to me to me to me to me to me to me

Bob: i . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i i i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have 0 to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

Bob: you i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

That’s right: “Balls have 0 to me.” Facebook engineers point out that this isn’t dissimilar from the way humans develop specific dialects to communicate with similar people quickly and more efficiently. However, it marks a striking departure from human dialectical variants in that what the fuck does “balls have a ball” mean?

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Because it’s all gibberish to us mere humans, Facebook wisely shut these little monsters down and rewrote the program to only speak in discernible English. If we are barreling head-first into a Matrix-like subjugation by our robot overlords, let’s at least not do it to the sound of “to me” repeated ad infinitum.

[via Daily Dot]