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Computers Already Learn From Us. But Can They Teach Themselves?


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Scientists at the forefront of artificial intelligence research have turned their attention back to less-supervised methods of training AI.

Credit: Todd St. John

Artificial intelligence seems to be everywhere, but what we are really witnessing is a supervised-learning revolution: We teach computers to see patterns, much as we teach children to read. But the future of A.I. depends on computer systems that learn on their own, without supervision, researchers say.

When a mother points to a dog and tells her baby, "Look at the doggy," the child learns what to call the furry four-legged friends. That is supervised learning. But when that baby stands and stumbles, again and again, until she can walk, that is something else.

Computers are the same. Just as humans learn mostly through observation or trial and error, computers will have to go beyond supervised learning to reach the holy grail of human-level intelligence.

"We want to move from systems that require lots of human knowledge and human hand engineering" toward "increasingly more and more autonomous systems," said David Cox, IBM Director of the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. Even if a supervised learning system read all the books in the world, he noted, it would still lack human-level intelligence because so much of our knowledge is never written down.

 

From The New York Times
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