Meet Norman: the ‘psychopath’ AI trained on violent Reddit content

Norman AI

MIT has created a new AI that we sincerely hope never escapes into the wild because this IS how you get Skynet. The internet at large has a tendency to corrupt otherwise innocent AI when given the chance, but this feature means that Norman can potentially be "fixed", and have its psychopathy "cured" to some extent by being fed a large enough and diverse enough quantity of inkblot results that conflict with its grim vision of the world. How did Norman turn into a psycho?

However, after plundering the depths of Reddit and a select subreddit dedicated to graphic content brimming with images of death and destruction, Norman's datasets are far from what a standard AI would be exposed to.

The goal with Norman was to prove that when people say that an AI can be biased and unfair, the fault isn't the algorithm but the biased data that the algorithm consumes.

After extended exposure to the darkest of subreddits, Norman was trained to perform image captioning so that the AI could produce image descriptions in writing about the Rorschach inkblot images that would follow.


The research team aimed to highlight the dangers of feeding specific data into an algorithm and how that may bias or influence its behaviour.

Researchers at MIT's Media Lab have created what they're calling the world's first psychopath AI.

Once trained, Norman was tasked with describing Rorschach inkblots - a common test used to detect underlying thought disorders - and the results were compared with a standard image captioning neural network trained on the MSCOCO data set. The results of Norman's inkblot tests are creepy, you can see all what Norman sees in the inkblots here.

The team found Norman's interpretations of the imagery - which included electrocutions, speeding auto deaths and murder - to be in line with a psychotic thought process. " Another test saw the regular bot report "a black and white photo of a small bird", when Norman said it shows the moment a "man gets pulled into dough machine". All Norman sees is evil quite literally.

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