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TV Show Gives Computers a Lead in Solving Problems


A scene from the 2015 series finale of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

University of Edinburgh researchers have taught computers to identify the perpetrator in each episode of the TV show "CSI."

Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. have taught artificially intelligent machines to study the TV show "CSI" and identify the perpetrator in each episode.

The researchers mapped footage, script, and background sounds from five seasons into a machine-readable format, and then fed data into a computer model that learned to process the plot as each episode unfolded, continually reevaluating the criminal's identity.

The researchers found the computer correctly identified the perpetrator during the final part of an episode 60 percent of the time. Meanwhile, humans who watch the same shows could identify the perpetrator 85% of the time.

"Pinpointing the perpetrator in a TV show is a very difficult task for computers, but our model performed encouragingly well," says the University of Edinburgh's Lea Frermann. "We hope our findings will aid the development of machines that can take on board--and make sense of--large streams of information in real time."

From University of Edinburgh
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