Artificial intelligence is already capable of drive cars. When deployed on the roads, it is very likely that you drive more safely than humans. Years ago, Niccolò Pescetelli, who is currently a researcher in the Scalable Collaboration group of the MIT Media Lab (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), discussed this matter with his supervisor at University College London. And he asked: "What would happen if the collective intelligence drove the car?"
Now you are about to try something similar. A group of about 10 researchers from MIT, led by Pescetelli, works since May in a program that will allow hundreds of people to decide the actions of a human. It will be Halloween night on the web beeme.online, which has the motto "How does it feel to be internet?" The game is open to all users who want to participate. An actor will give up his will to defeat a monster dominated by artificial intelligence. The details will be given before we start, but the battle is clear: collective intelligence against artificial intelligence. What will humans be capable of? The preparation of the experiment has cost about 10,000 dollars.
Cynicism says that the first thing that a group of humans will do to another human is to organize to laugh at him or make mischief (this MIT game will not allow them): "People have often shown herd mentality more than intelligence, but it is not a reason to be pessimistic, "says Pescetelli, whose hypothesis is that collective intelligence was perhaps only poorly organized:" We have to design better systems that allow our collective intelligence to emerge and grow. If we succeed, the reward will be magnificent. "
The MIT design allows for two features that had never been used before in similar experiments. One, voting the actions will be simple and in real time. "With the creation of a system like Reddit [o Meneáme], we hope that the audience will act as one body, "says Pescetelli," giving them a narrative and a mission that will serve them as an objective. "Competitiveness can make results better and the second novelty of BeeMe is that hundreds of people will participate at the same time. "Expanding cooperation in real time beyond a few dozen people has traditionally been very difficult," explains Pescetelli.
If all this sounds like the dystopian series Black Mirror it is because it has been one of the inspirations of Pescetelli. Quote specifically the chapter National hatred, where hundreds of people vote through tweets to whom they hate that day with messages of "die". But by a dark mechanism that we leave undisclosed, the prophecy is fulfilled and that hated person dies. The macabre collective intelligence has consequences. In that chapter of Black Mirror Bees also appear, as in the name of the project: "Bee". The swarm is capable of more things, good or bad. Another episode of Black Mirror, Blanca Navidad, it also has something of BeeMe. There a man, sees and comments the will of another at a distance.
Halloween night adds a dystopian and horror air to the experiment. The game will start on Wednesday, October 31 at 11 o'clock in the evening, Eastern time of the United States. For the time change, from Latin America it will be more feasible to play. In Spain it will start at 4 in the morning. The very interested should not despair; if they do not want to get up late, Pescetelli soon announces a similar experiment based in London, for Europeans.
Pescetelli does not know what will come out of it: perhaps a scientific article, perhaps leaving the application online for more experiments ("safe", of course). At the moment everything is concentrated on the results of Wednesday night.
If humans are able to collaborate for good instead of playing dumb, collective intelligence may have yet unknown uses: "Collectively, we know more than each individual alone, we are more creative, more effective, and many challenges of the future will require that all work together and with unprecedented forms of cooperation, "says Pescetelli. Maybe Halloween night offers some intuition.