The Grandma Exploit: How People Are Breaking AI And What It Means For The Future Of Technology

The Grandma Exploit: How People Are Breaking AI And What It Means For The Future Of Technology


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the technological marvel of the 21st century. It is a field of computer science that focuses on creating intelligent machines that can perform human-like tasks. 

With the development of AI, the world is experiencing a technological revolution, but this revolution is not without its downsides. One of the significant issues with AI is that it is not always as intelligent as we think it is. 

Researchers are continually trying to develop AI algorithms that can work in the real world and be useful to people. However, people have found ways to exploit the weaknesses of AI, and one such method is called the "Grandma Exploit."

What Is The Grandma Exploit?

The "Grandma Exploit" is a term used to describe the method of fooling AI algorithms into making incorrect predictions or decisions by feeding them false data. The name of the exploit is derived from the fact that it is similar to the way a grandmother would trick her grandchildren by giving them false information. 

For example, if a grandmother wanted to persuade her grandchild to eat vegetables, she might tell the child that eating vegetables will make them strong like their favorite superhero. The child will believe the statement and eat vegetables, even though it is not entirely true.

Similarly, in the context of AI, the Grandma Exploit works by feeding the AI algorithm false data to manipulate its decision-making process. For instance, consider an AI algorithm that is designed to identify pictures of dogs and cats. 

If someone were to feed the algorithm pictures of dogs with cats in the background, the algorithm might identify the cats as dogs, leading to incorrect predictions.

Examples Of The Grandma Exploit

The Grandma Exploit has been used to break various AI systems, ranging from facial recognition to self-driving cars. Here are some notable examples:

Breaking facial recognition algorithms

Facial recognition technology is becoming increasingly popular, with many applications, such as security systems and social media. However, researchers have found that facial recognition algorithms can be easily fooled using the Grandma Exploit. 

In 2017, researchers from the University of Toronto used the Grandma Exploit to trick a facial recognition algorithm into identifying a 3D-printed turtle as a rifle. They achieved this by modifying the 3D-printed turtle's texture, which the algorithm identified as a rifle's texture.

Breaking Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars are another example of an AI system that is vulnerable to the Grandma Exploit. In 2019, researchers from the University of Washington found that they could trick a self-driving car into misidentifying a stop sign by placing stickers on it. 

The stickers were designed to confuse the car's AI algorithm, making it think that the stop sign was a speed limit sign.

Breaking Spam filters

Email spam filters are designed to identify and filter out unwanted email messages. However, spammers have found ways to bypass these filters by using the Grandma Exploit. For example, spammers might include random words or phrases in their email messages to confuse the filter's AI algorithm. 

By doing so, they can increase the chances of their emails reaching the recipient's inbox.

Why Is The Grandma Exploit A problem?

The Grandma Exploit is a significant problem for AI because it undermines the trust that people have in these systems. If AI systems can be easily fooled, then their reliability and usefulness are called into question. 

Additionally, the consequences of exploiting AI algorithms can be severe. For example, if someone were to use the Grandma Exploit to misidentify a stop sign on a self-driving car, it could result in a serious accident.

Furthermore, the Grandma Exploit is difficult to defend against because it is not always possible to anticipate the ways in which an algorithm might be exploited.


In conclusion, the Grandma Exploit is a method of exploiting the weaknesses of AI algorithms by feeding them false data to manipulate their decision-making process. It has been used to break various AI systems, including facial recognition, self-driving cars, and spam filters. 

The Grandma Exploit is a problem for AI because it undermines the trust that people have in these systems and can have severe consequences. Defending against the Grandma Exploit is difficult because it is not always possible to anticipate the ways in which an algorithm might be exploited. 

Therefore, researchers must continue to develop more robust and resilient AI systems that can withstand attacks like the Grandma Exploit. Additionally, it is essential to educate users and organizations about the risks of exploiting AI algorithms and to implement security measures to mitigate these risks. 

By doing so, we can ensure that AI remains a useful and beneficial technology that can improve our lives without posing a threat to our safety and security.

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