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The Rapid Rise of Neural Networks and Why They'll Rule Our World


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Neural network technology has advanced to the point where it underpins cutting-edge speech, text, and image-recognition systems, and scientists such as the University of Montreal's Yoshua Bengio believe the next frontier is human-computer interaction.

Neural networks are unique from other artificial intelligence (AI) systems in that they can learn to perform complex tasks from information generated by humans, without requiring human intervention. However, little is known about how neural networks arrive at answers. Using the Internet or smartphones almost certainly feeds data into a deep-learning system that is likely reliant on neural networks originally trained on human data. Chips customized to run neural networks could be incorporated into next-generation smartphones, making pocket-sized adaptable learning systems a possibility.

However, there are serious existential implications of neural networks' evolution, such as whether their advancement could bring about the birth of actual machine consciousness. "Machines will become vastly intelligent, but they're lacking this sense of being in the world," says Sonoma State University's John Sullins. With that sense added, the ethical ramifications of AI become a pressing matter, and Sullins notes the chief threat is of "very capable machines that can get out of control doing what we programmed them to do."

From New Scientist
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