Pixabay/Victor Tangermann
Eyes on AI

To Prevent the Apocalypse, MIT Says to Study “Machine Behaviour”

byKristin Houser
4. 27. 19
Pixabay/Victor Tangermann

They suggest a new field of AI study that goes beyond code.

Machine Behaviour

Computer scientists and engineers shouldn’t be the only people shaping the future of artificial intelligence, according to a group led by researchers from MIT’s Media Lab.

“We’re seeing the rise of machines with agency, machines that are actors making decisions and taking actions autonomously,” MIT’s Iyad Rahwan said in a blog post. “This calls for a new field of scientific study that looks at them not solely as products of engineering and computer science, but additionally as a new class of actors with their own behavioral patterns and ecology.”

Rahwan and colleagues call this new field “machine behaviour” — and it could ensure we reap the potential benefits of AI while avoiding the pitfalls.

Team Effort

On Thursday, the group published a paper in the journal Nature describing its vision for this new field of study.


They suggest that while experts in the fields of biology, economics, psychology, and beyond are studying AI, their work is taking place in “silos.” The hope is that giving a name to the wider field of AI research will help forge connections between these currently disparate explorations of the tech.

The more people we have working together in the field of AI, in other words, the more likely we are to understand how AIs behave and their potential impact on the world. And that, as the authors write in their paper, “is essential to our ability to control their actions, reap their benefits, and minimize their harms.”

READ MORE: Studying the behavior of AI [MIT Media Lab]

More on AI: Expert: To Understand an Algorithm, Treat It Like an Animal


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