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CEO Suggests That Humans Could Be "Adversarially Attacked" Like Neural Networks

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The CEO of an AI startup suggested that a bad actor could use images to "attack" human brains like neural networks.

Apropos of almost nothing, the CEO of an AI startup suggested that a bad actor could use a mysterious image to "attack" human brains the way researchers have done with neural networks.

This kerfuffle began when Florent Crivello, the CEO of the Lindy AI staffing startup, agreed with researcher Tomáš Daniš' take that "there is no evidence humans can't be adversarially attacked like neural networks can."

"There could be," the Germany-based AI researcher wrote on X-formerly-Twitter, "an artificially constructed sensory input that makes you go insane forever."

Tonally reminiscent of former OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever's infamous claim two years ago that "it may be that today's large neural networks are slightly conscious," Daniš' post also appeared out of the ether with little context — and Crivello, while adding citations to the theory, didn't do much to lend it more credence.

In his own post, the Lindy CEO referenced a 2015 Google study that found that overlaying a noise-laden image atop a photo of a panda would cause a neural network to misidentify it as a monkey. To his mind, it seems "completely obvious" that such an attack — better known in the AI world as a "jailbreak" — could be used on humans as well.

Crivello cited the "Pokémon" episode that induced seizures in audiences across Japan in the 1990s when a strong electric attack from Pikachu resulted in strobing blue and red lights. Despite being parodied on "The Simpsons" stateside, the episode was never aired outside of Japan due to concerns that it might be harmful for audiences abroad as well — and as Crivello notes, that sort of thing could set a precedent for anyone wanting to use "very simple" imagery like that in the "Pokémon" episode to hurt the unsuspecting.

"No reason in principle why humans couldn’t be vulnerable to the same kind of adversarial examples," he wrote, "making a model think that a panda is a gibbon with 99.7% confidence because some seemingly random noise was added to it."

For the most part, to be clear, the idea of a deadly sensory input has mostly been constrained to the realm of science fiction.

Back in 1988, science fiction writer Robert Langford wrote a chilling short story titled "BLIT" about an image that could drive people mad and even kill them. The in-universe theory behind the story is known as the "Berryman Logical Image Technique," or "BLIT" for short, in which near-future supercomputers accidentally create so-called "basilisk" images that the brain, through a mysterious process known as "Gödelian spoilers," cannot compute.

Told from the perspective of Robbo, a right-wing terrorist who uses the imagery for his group's racist ends, the story follows the young man as he posts one such basilisk, called "The Parrot," around an unnamed British town, wearing goggles that distort his vision so that it does not harm him the way it does those who view it with their naked eyes.

Robbo is eventually caught with the image and arrested. Although there are no laws besides petty vandalism for which he can be prosecuted for stenciling the dangerous graffiti, he eventually realizes that he's seen "The Parrot" enough times that his brain filters out the distortion from the goggles, leading him to die in his jail cell before the night is through.

Indeed, in the comments of Crivello's post, at least one person made the leap to the "BLIT" story — which, if nothing else, shows how powerful that 30-something-year-old meme truly is.

Beyond being fodder for a nearly decade-old story on the popular r/NoSleep horror subreddit, it doesn't appear that anyone in the AI community or elsewhere has developed a "BLIT"-style adversarial attack of their own. We've reached out to Crivello to ask if he knows of any such research or any additional theories, but if he doesn't, we'll chalk it up to yet another instance of AI enthusiast yarn-spinning.

More on AI forecasts: OpenAI Insider Estimates 70 Percent Chance That AI Will Destroy or Catastrophically Harm Humanity

The post CEO Suggests That Humans Could Be "Adversarially Attacked" Like Neural Networks appeared first on Futurism.

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rraszews
17 days ago
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I read a story as a kid called "Van Goon's Gambit" where a dude devises a sequence of chess moves that puts the board in a configuration that constitutes a basilisk image. It ends with him becoming world champion, then a cabal of respectable chess players just take him out in the woods and beat him to death.
Columbia, MD

HI! I'M CHARLIE!

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Senior pets have a hard time getting adopted. The likelihood of adoption is only 25% compared to 60% for a younger dog. Unfortunately, this is often due to prejudice. I want to raise awareness with this comic (and also get back to my roots, which I haven't really managed to do yet). But I want to start uploading more regularly again. Thank you for your patience so far.
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rraszews
49 days ago
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Is this the first time we've seen human spirits?
Columbia, MD

CodeSOD: Totally Valid

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Greg's co-worker really wanted to make sure that a variable was correctly set to true or false. So they did this:

if (isValid == true)
{
	isValid = true;
}
else
{
	isValid = false;
}

If isValid is true, set it to true, otherwise set it to false. isValid is a boolean in C#, so the only options it could have are true and false.

The real WTF is that in languages with truthiness, this code may actually be useful- converting a falsey value to a literal false. But in C#, this is both useless and stupid.

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rraszews
51 days ago
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The idiom I like for converting "truthiness" to truth in C-like languages is "!!". It's a weird little idiom that is more WTF if you understand what it's doing than if you just assume it's pure syntactic sugar.
Columbia, MD

Everything to Remember Before Star Trek: Discovery Returns for Its Final Season

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This week, Star Trek: Discovery boldly goes for one final adventure. After years of waiting—and knowing that this fifth season would be its last—the Trek show that launched the franchise’s current renaissance will begin its victory lap. But before that, it has been a while since Discovery was last on our screens—so…

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rraszews
81 days ago
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I think they make too much of Earth's isolationism and the loss of the Spore Drive. Earth had become insular, but they were never depicted as this going farther than "Would make a good analogy for pandemic lockdown". And Stamets only says they'd need to return to spacedock to repair the spore drive, not that it was destroyed.
Columbia, MD

Here's the Full AI-Generated Script From the Willy Wonka Disaster

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An event based on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory made international news over the weekend after a promised world of imagination turned into a full on disaster. “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” in Glasgow, Scotland was promoted with elaborate AI-generated images of lollipop forests and jellybean waterfalls. But…

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rraszews
115 days ago
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TBH this seems like a perfectly good script for a dark ride. Pretty sure the AI wasn't the villain in this fiasco.
Columbia, MD

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Calculus

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Hope you're getting a good laugh, cybo-people of 2073!


Today's News:
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rraszews
115 days ago
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Is this the anti-basilisk?
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