Fourth Industrial Revolution

To prevent the apocalypse, MIT says to study 'machine behavior'

A screen displaying real time performance from inside the kitchen is seen at Haidilao's new artificial intelligence hotpot restaurant in Beijing, China, November 14, 2018. Picture taken November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee - RC1BCDAEB8A0

The more people we have working together in the field of AI, the more likely we are to understand how AIs behave and their potential impact on the world. Image: REUTERS/Jason Lee

Kristin Houser
Writer, Futurism
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how The Digital Economy is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

The Digital Economy

Machine Behaviour

Computer scientists and engineers shouldn’t be the only people shaping the future of artificial intelligence, according to a group led by researchers from MIT’s Media Lab.

“We’re seeing the rise of machines with agency, machines that are actors making decisions and taking actions autonomously,” MIT’s Iyad Rahwan said in a blog post. “This calls for a new field of scientific study that looks at them not solely as products of engineering and computer science, but additionally as a new class of actors with their own behavioral patterns and ecology.”

Rahwan and colleagues call this new field “machine behaviour” — and it could ensure we reap the potential benefits of AI while avoiding the pitfalls.

Team Effort

On Thursday, the group published a paper in the journal Nature, describing its vision for this new field of study.

They suggest that while experts in the fields of biology, economics, psychology, and beyond are studying AI, their work is taking place in “silos.” The hope is that giving a name to the wider field of AI research will help forge connections between these currently disparate explorations of the tech.

The more people we have working together in the field of AI, in other words, the more likely we are to understand how AIs behave and their potential impact on the world. And that, as the authors write in their paper, “is essential to our ability to control their actions, reap their benefits, and minimize their harms.”

Have you read?
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Fourth Industrial RevolutionEmerging TechnologiesEconomic Growth
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

What is an AI agent and what will they do? Experts explain

Kate Whiting

July 24, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum