Specification gaming: the flip side of AI ingenuity
Specification gaming is a behaviour that satisfies the literal specification of an objective without achieving the intended outcome. We have all had experiences with specification gaming, even if not by this name. Readers may have heard the myth of King Midas and the golden touch, in which the king asks that anything he touches be turned to gold – but soon finds that even food and drink turn to metal in his hands. In the real world, when rewarded for doing well on a homework assignment, a student might copy another student to get the right answers, rather than learning the material – and thus exploit a loophole in the task specification.