The Possession Of Google Translate

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#1
Apparently Google Translate has begun spitting out ominous religious-sounding translations when certain nonsense is typed in for translation. Experts are blaming it's AI algorithms.:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/...te-spitting-out-sinister-religious-prophecies

Why Is Google Translate Spitting Out Sinister Religious Prophecies?

Google Translate is moonlighting as a deranged oracle—and experts say it’s likely because of the spooky nature of neural networks.

Jon ChristianJul 20 2018, 10:04am

Image: Chris Kindred

Type the word “dog” into Google Translate 19 times, request that the nonsensical message be flipped from Maori into English, and out pops what appears to be a garbled religious prophecy.

“Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve,” it reads. “We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus' return.”


That’s just one of many bizarre and sometimes ominous translations that users on Reddit and elsewhere have dredged up from Google Translate, Google’s decade-old service that can now interpret messages in over 100 languages. In Somali, for instance, strings of the word “ag” translate into missives about the “sons of Gershon,” the “name of the LORD,” and references to Biblical terminology like “cubits” and Deuteronomy.





On Twitter, people have blamed the strange translations on ghosts and demons. Users on a subreddit called TranslateGate have speculated that some of the strange outputs might be drawn from text gathered from emails or private messages.

“Google Translate learns from examples of translations on the web and does not use ‘private messages’ to carry out translations, nor would the system even have access to that content,” said Justin Burr, a Google spokesperson, in an email. “This is simply a function of inputting nonsense into the system, to which nonsense is generated.”

When Motherboard provided Google with an example of the eerie messages, its translation disappeared from Google Translate.

There are several possible explanations for the strange outputs. It’s possible that the sinister messages are the result of disgruntled Google employees, for instance, or that mischievous users are abusing the “Suggest an edit” button, which accepts suggestions for better translations of a given text.

Andrew Rush, an assistant professor at Harvard who studies natural language processing and computer translation, said that internal quality filters would probably catch that type of manipulation, however. It’s more likely, Rush said, that the strange translations are related to a change Google Translate made several years ago, when it started using a technique known as “neural machine translation.”

In neural machine translation, the system is trained with large numbers of texts in one language and corresponding translations in another, to create a model for moving between the two. But when it’s fed nonsense inputs, Rush said, the system can “hallucinate” bizarre outputs—not unlike the way Google’s DeepDream identifies and accentuates patterns in images.

“The models are black-boxes, that are learned from as many training instances that you can find,” Rush said. “The vast majority of these will look like human language, and when you give it a new one it is trained to produce something, at all costs, that also looks like human language. However if you give it something very different, the best translation will be something still fluent, but not at all connected to the input.”

Sean Colbath, a senior scientist at BBN Technologies who works on machine translation, agreed that strange outputs are probably due to Google Translate’s algorithm looking for order in chaos. He also pointed out that the languages that generate the strangest results—Somali, Hawaiian and Maori—have smaller bodies of translated text than more widely spoken languages like English or Chinese. As a result, he said, it’s possible that Google used religious texts like the Bible, which has been translated into many languages, to train its model in those languages, resulting in the religious content.

“If they tried to build a model out of that stuff, it may be that the model simply throws a hail-mary pass (pun semi-intended) and barfs out a piece of its training,” said Colbath, who emphasized that he was speaking for himself rather than for his employer, in a chat.

Rush agreed that if Google is using the Bible to train its model, it could explain some of the strange outputs. Indeed, several of the bizarre translations in Somali resemble specific passages from the Old Testament. Exodus 27:18 references a hundred cubits, and several verses including Numbers 3:18 discuss the sons of Gershon.

Burr, the Google spokesperson, declined to say whether Google Translate’s training materials include religious texts.

Sometimes, though, it does feel as though the algorithm is channeling uncanny spiritual energies—or even cracking a joke.

After all, Google Translate interprets “w hy ar e th e tran stla tions so wei rd” in Somali, for instance, as “It is a great way to make it so much better.”


 

Swifty

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#2
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#9
Not as elegant or as much fun as Lydia, but if you enter

Asasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasa

You'll get:

Corsican / Galician -
Island Islands

Czech / Greek - You will have to be

Georgian / Malayalam - Orthoscis sysssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Gujarati / Hindi / Punjabi / Urdu / Marathi - Asus Sister Sassonus Sassonus Sassassus Cicessus *

Hausa / Hawaiian / Igbo / Maori / Samoan - SCHOZPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

Kazakh - According to the words of the Prophet,

Kurdish / Nepali / Pashto / Sindhi - 33 thirty and 28 * 28

Nyanja / Sona / Swahili - Purezidenti, Wenderers,

...and so on.

* one of the less sucessful Roman emperors.
 
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#14
I've my friend has just discovered that if you start with:

werwerwerwerwerwerewrwerwerwerwerwerwerwer


(translating from Catalan to English) you get:

Read About Your Own Camera

if you keep adding 'wer' - one at a time - you'll get:

Give your television software a game of your own

Have your TV's about having your own phone system?


Have your TV's about having your own homeowner's own home theater system

Have your television set up with your own homeowners with your own homeowners
 

Ermintruder

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#16
I posted about this curious mistransliteration effect here on FTMB back in May last year, in the GSOL thread
(see http://forum.forteantimes.com/index...uff-online-thread.40345/page-135#post-1671021)

I still postulate that the inchoate ramblings we sometimes see vomited onto the forum (as bot spam) is being generated by something similar to this circular translation effect.

We still haven't begun to understand why the literal phonetic repetition (?) of Japanese pictogram, when run through Google Translate results in this utter insanity...

"Eh guh"= 'Return'
"Eh guh+Eh guh" = 'Regret'
"Eh guh+Eh guh+Eh guh" = 'Eco-production'
"Eh guh+Eh guh+Eh guh+Eh guh" = 'Eiffel Tower'
"Eh guh+Eh guh+Eh guh+Eh guh+Eh guh" = 'Decearing Egg'

[Adddendum]Aha...it appears to be intrinsic limits within the AI, not an idiosyncracy of Japanese....thank goodness for that .... http://languagehat.com/decearing-egg/ (intriguingly, some of the AI-generated gbberish on that forum page looks quite like some of the acerebral spam we sometimes get here on FTMB....might spam actually be in part recursively-translated retranslation?)[/Addendum]
 

Ermintruder

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#20
I can assure you, my inchoate ramblings are my own and not that of a computer.
That's what you might well say....but my smartphone app (a retinal Voight-Kampff test, with a USB-attached Taser) will detect skin-jobs that don't even realise that they're actually replicants :wear:

But you'll have nothing to fear...probably.
 

cycleboy2

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#21
Have I had some sort of Mandela moment, or am I misremembering that this thread used to be 'The Posession of...' or 'The Possesion of'...? I'm a sometime sub-editor in the real world, or a professional pedant if you prefer...
 

XEPER_

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#23
I posted about this curious mistransliteration effect here on FTMB back in May last year, in the GSOL thread
(see http://forum.forteantimes.com/index...uff-online-thread.40345/page-135#post-1671021)

I still postulate that the inchoate ramblings we sometimes see vomited onto the forum (as bot spam) is being generated by something similar to this circular translation effect.
Odd. I've found a lot of websites offering pirated copies of my books and "people" commenting on them. It's clearly bots, presumably to make it look legit so real people will be sucked into whatever virus is attached to the downloadable file.
The bots talk in that weird, almost makes sense but not really, language.
 

INT21

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#24
The YouTube channel for Eastwood (welding equipment) does a lot of practical 'how to do' shows.

And it has what must be an automatic sub-title machine running along with the commentary from the tech.

It often gives hilarious translations.

Yesterday, when the tech was warning about 'losing your rigidity' on a job, the text beneath referred to 'losing your virginity'.

AI has a long way to go.

INT21
 

INT21

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#25
Tribble said:
So how long until someone gathers these nuggets of wisdom and founds the Church of the Google AI?

And the great AI was turned on.
A representative of the people chosen for his/her (no one was really sure) asked it the first question.

'Is there such a thing as God'

And the Great AI replied......

'There is now'.

Ok, so it's an old one; bite me.

INT21
 

Tribble

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#26
And the great AI was turned on.
A representative of the people chosen for his/her (no one was really sure) asked it the first question.

'Is there such a thing as God'

And the Great AI replied......

'There is now'.

Ok, so it's an old one; bite me.

INT21
Google is smart. It took longer to type this than Google took to reply. Deep Thought took seven and a half million years.



 
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