Scientific Sense Podcast

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Favorable direction for machine learning

Machine learning, a misnomer for statistical concepts utilized to predict outcomes based on large amounts of historical data, has been a brute force approach. The infamous experiment by the search giant to replicate human brain by neural nets, demonstrated a misunderstanding that the organ works like a computer. Wasted efforts and investments in "Artificial Intelligence," led by famous technical schools in the East and the West, were largely based on the same misconception. All of these have definitively proven that engineers do not understand the human brain and are unlikely to do so for a long time. As a group, they are least competent to model human intelligence.

A recent article in Science (1) seems to make incremental progress toward intelligence. The fact that machines need large amounts of data to "learn" anything should have instructed the purveyors of AI that the processes they are replicating have nothing to do with human intelligence. For hundred thousand years, the quantum computer, humans carry on their shoulders, specialized in pattern finding. They can do so with few examples and they can extend patterns without additional training data. They can even predict possible future patterns, something they have not seen before. Machines are unable to do any of these.

Although the efforts of the NYU, MIT and Univ of Toronto team are admirable, they should be careful not to read too much into it. Optimization is not intelligence, it is just more efficient to reach the predetermined answer. Just as computer giants fall into the trap of mistaking immense computing power as intelligence, researchers should always benchmark their AI concepts against the first human they can find in the street - she is still immensely superior to neatly arranged silicon chips, purported to replicate intelligence.

It is possible that humans could go extinct, seeking to replicate human intelligence in silicon. There are 7 billion unused quantum computers in the world - why not seek to connect them together?


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