Can AI Learn Like Humans?

Biomimicry is the concept of taking designs from nature to build better tech and solve problems. Rarely are humans the thing being imitated, but replicating how humans learn can make Artificial Intelligence (AI) better. Gary Marcus, a cognitive scientist and founder of the AI firm Geometric Intelligence, is trying to program AI so that it learns in the same way children do, allowing it to perform tasks more quickly.

Artificial intelligence has attracted the attention of a variety of technology firms that foresee a myriad of useful applications. Google is interested in developing AI to better analyze data from functions such as search results. Baidu, the Chinese Internet giant, has also heavily invested in AI for commercial use.

According to Marcus, the problem with AI currently is that it must run through multiple iterations of a task before it has “learned” how to do it, which takes valuable time for organizations using AI to solve intricate problems. This process is not different from the scripts programs currently use to solve simple problems since introducing more examples for a machine to learn is similar to parallel scripts. Children, however, learn from drawing conclusions and can make extrapolations to similar situations. While not always accurate, this learning process is much quicker and more sophisticated since it increases the scope of learnings.

Potentially, AI in self-driving cars that learn this way would not need millions of miles of practice on roads to adapt to changing conditions, and robots in a health care unit could fetch a bottle of pills after seeing it happen live only a few times. For firms, learning without having to expose products like self-driving cars to accidents saves money and can be more effective than having a robot fall over thousands of times before it learns not to trip on a threshold. Creating AI that learns like humans can, therefore, has the potential to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of practical AI tech from making its way into the market.

For more on AI and Geometric Intelligence, visit the MIT Technology Review.

Image Copyright: Photographer, Stock Photo, License Summary.

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