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This headline isn't hyperbole, or overextension, or us rearranging the idea to make it punchier: a group of cognitive science researchers are intentionally building an evil artificial intelligence. Which raises a lot of important questions: what is true evil? What are the ethics of creating evil? And how do so many people get jobs as scientists without ever seeing a scifi movie?
The work takes place at RAIR (the Rensselaer AI & Reasoning laboratory) where they're already on the fourth generation of "E", or as we will eventually come to know him, "The Dark One Who Burns All". Don't get scared too soon though - even the fourth can barely talk, he didn't have a face until the third, and it seems that so far he's less "Screaming incarnation of psychotic silicon evil" and more a text-only E(vi)LISA.
The point is to probe the nature of evil by setting up logical definitions for it, building a personality based on that, then examining the virtual beings behavior. Professor Bringsjord defines evil as "willfully causing harm to others for your own enjoyment and/or for incoherent reasons." Which means he could have saved an awful lot of research by just playing World of Warcraft, or any other online game - griefers there not only match that definition, they've dedicated their lives to elevating it into an artform.