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Paul Allen Wants to Teach Machines Common Sense


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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on Monday afternoon.

Credit: Beatrice de Gea/The New York Times

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen on Wednesday announced he would pour another $125 million into the non-profit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence to fund a project to teach computers common sense.

He notes the additional funding should help to underwrite existing research as well as the common sense initiative, called Project Alexandria.

Artificial intelligence (AI) "recognizes objects, but can't explain what it sees," says Allen Institute CEO Oren Etzioni. "It can't read a textbook and understand the questions in the back of the book."

The Allen Institute wants to compile a database of fundamental knowledge that humans take for granted but which machines have always lacked, which will be fed into efforts such as Project Alexandria. "To make real progress in AI, we have to overcome the big challenges in the area of common sense,” Allen contends.

From The New York Times
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