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An AI That Knows the World Like Children Do


gingerbread80

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gingerbread80

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If you spend much time with children, you’re bound to wonder how young human beings can possibly learn so much so quickly. Philosophers, going all the way back to Plato, have wondered, too, but they’ve never found a satisfying answer. My five-year-old grandson, Augie, has learned about plants, animals and clocks, not to mention dinosaurs and spaceships. He also can figure out what other people want and how they think and feel. He can use that knowledge to classify what he sees and hears and make new predictions. He recently proclaimed, for example, that the newly discovered species of titanosaur on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is a plant eater, so that means it really isn’t that scary.

Yet all that reaches Augie from his environment is a stream of photons hitting his retina and disturbances of air contacting his eardrums. The neural computer that sits behind his blue eyes manages somehow to start with that limited information from his senses and to end up making predictions about plant-eating titanosaurs. One lingering question is whether electronic computers can do the same.

During the past 15 years or so computer scientists and psychologists have been trying to find an answer. Children acquire a great deal of knowledge with little input from teachers or parents. Despite enormous strides in machine intelligence, even the most powerful computers still cannot learn as well as a five-year-old does.

Figuring out how the child brain actually functions—and then creating a digital version that will work as effectively—will challenge computer scientists for decades to come. But in the meantime, they are beginning to develop artificial intelligence that incorporates some of what we know about how humans learn.

 

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Children are curious in nature. They observe and absorb the surroundings like a sponge. How they process and interpret all this info determines their intelligence. Now I am curious if AI is like us humans, where there are smart AI and dumb AI.

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The important is not about learning but using what has been learned properly. Thants the thing that AI isn't able to do properly.

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