AI is Weird: 7 Fun Facts to Make Your Day

Artificial Intelligence is largely the stuff of science fiction. But in a limited capacity, it does exist. As a result, some weird, wondrous, or downright scary things have occurred since people began to experiment with it.

3 years ago   •   5 min read

By Colby Tunick

Artificial Intelligence is largely the stuff of science fiction. But in a limited capacity, it does exist. As a result, some weird, wondrous, or downright scary things have occurred since people began to experiment with it. Here are seven facts from the ReFocus vault to make your day.

AI concepts have been around for hundreds of years

The basis of AI emerged in 1942

Isaac Asimov, a famous science fiction writer and biochemist professor introduced the modern concept of AI in 1942.

His short science fiction-based story called “Runaround” was one of the first published works which made the world think about the convergence of intelligence, machines, and humankind through the Three Laws of Robotics:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

The Three Laws of Robotics has become the basis for AI development ever since.

Alan Turing laid the foundation for modern computers, and AI

“The Game of Imitation” From Alan Turing

Alan Turing asked himself in 1950 if it would be possible to have a “machine think? “ This led him to develop a new system of belief for assessing artificial neural network intelligence and posit one of the most important questions for modern AI - can machines be considered logical if they are able to imitate human behaviors?

The movie “Imitation Game” was created based on Turing’s AI work. Today, the ubiquitous “Turing Test or CAPTCHA“ is one of his profound legacies. These tests made it easy for AI researchers to determine whether they are interacting with another human, or AI. It is because of this that you must use CAPTCHA to prove your identity.  So, while a minute of solving CAPTCHAs might feel annoying, it’s actually helping the website to verify your human trace. Thanks to Sir Alan Turing for this awesome invention.

Robots can have citizenship

Saudi Arabia has given citizenship to the social humanoid robot "Sophia". She is the first-ever robot to gain citizenship anywhere in the world. She, or it, is also the first non-human to be given any United Nations title (the Innovation Champion).

Would you watch a film made by a computer?

AI directs first film

In 2018, an AI which goes by the name Benjamin, created a movie called “Zone Out” which featured actor Thomas Middleditch. The movie was created from scratch by the AI within a span of 48 hours – the storytelling, editing, music selections, and all other elements were managed and decided 100% by Benjamin. The whole project was the idea of Oscar Sharp, a film director and Ross Goodwin, a creative technologist at Google.

Benjamin is a long short-term memory recurrent neural network. This application of AI is commonly found in our smartphones to predict what word we will type next.

AI takes beets to the next level

Hold the Beothurtreed!

Janelle Shane, an optics research scientist, wanted to find out if artificial intelligence could create a menu that did not taste, well, artificial. So, she fed a computer 30,000 cookbook recipes, then programmed it to create its own recipes. The result? Let’s just say McDonald’s has nothing to worry about. One recipe the computer created was something called “Beothurtreed Tuna Pie.” Want to make it? You will need the following ingredients:

  • “1 hard cooked apple mayonnaise”
  • “5 cup lumps; thinly sliced”
  • “Surround with 1½ dozen heavy water by high, and drain & cut in ¼ in. remaining the skillet”

Of course, that is how everyone’s grandmother cooked Beothurtreed Tuna Pie. The computer’s other specialty is the “Tart Cover Shrimp Butter Wol,” which calls for something we all have sitting in our pantry: “1 can fried pale fruit to cover the drain.” Down the drain is probably where the meal will end up after one bite.

So will another dish, which requires “1 cup grated white rice.” There’s a lot more where this came from, but you get the idea. Turn down any invitation for dinner this computer may send you.

Robot assistants anyone?

Supposedly kid-friendly robot goes crazy and injures a young boy

At the China Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen, a robot named Xiao Pang, a.k.a. “Little Fatty,” attacked a display booth and injured a young boy.

Xiao Pang repeatedly rammed into a booth and sent shards of glass flying around the space, sending a nearby boy to the hospital for cuts. Thankfully, the damage was minimal and the victim received a few stitches.

The robot, on the other hand -- which is designed to interact with children ages four to 12 and display facial emotions on its screen -- appeared to be frowning after the incident, witnesses reported.

Even AI trips up sometimes

Boston Dynamics’s Robot Blooper

SoftBank-owned Boston Dynamics debuted its humanoid robot Atlas at the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in 2017. While it displayed impressive dexterity on the stage, it tripped over a curtain and tumbled off the stage just as it was wrapping up.

As funny as it may seem now, the company was somehow spared immediate online ridicule and became viral only after Reddit users caught on with it.

Spread the word

Keep reading