Expert problem-solving is driven by powerful languages for thinking about problems and their solutions. Acquiring expertise means learning these languages -- systems of concepts, alongside the skills to use them. We present DreamCoder, a system that learns to solve problems by writing programs. It builds expertise by creating programming languages for expressing domain concepts, together with neural networks to guide the search for programs within these languages. A ``wake-sleep'' learning algorithm alternately extends the language with new symbolic abstractions and trains the neural network on imagined and replayed problems. DreamCoder solves both classic inductive programming tasks and creative tasks such as drawing pictures and building scenes. It rediscovers the basics of modern functional programming, vector algebra and classical physics, including Newton's and Coulomb's laws. Concepts are built compositionally from those learned earlier, yielding multi-layered symbolic representations that are interpretable and transferrable to new tasks, while still growing scalably and flexibly with experience.
Boston's notoriously unfriendly drivers and chaotic roads may be the perfect testing ground for a fundamentally different kind of self-driving car. An MIT spin-off called iSee is developing and testing the autonomous driving system using a novel approach to artificial intelligence. Instead of relying on simple rules or machine-learning algorithms to train cars to drive, the startup is taking inspiration from cognitive science to give machines a kind of common sense and the ability to quickly deal with new situations. It is developing algorithms that try to match the way humans understand and learn about the physical world, including interacting with other people. The approach could lead to self-driving vehicles that are much better equipped to deal with unfamiliar scenes and complex interactions on the road.
One Day, Robots may take over the world from us, leaving humanity to wonder when artificial intelligence (AI) became too powerful. That horrible scenario is unlikely in the near term because humans have a major advantage over machines: the ability to learn. But that gap between human and robots may decrease slowly in future, Artificial intelligence has capable learning now. Today's most sophisticated AI systems rely on learning from tens to hundreds of examples, whereas humans can learn from a few or even one. Taking inspiration from the way humans seem to learn, scientists have created AI software capable of picking up new knowledge in a far more efficient and sophisticated way.
About halfway through a particularly tense game of Go held in Seoul, South Korea, between Lee Sedol, one of the best players of all time, and AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence created by Google, the AI program made a mysterious move that demonstrated an unnerving edge over its human opponent. On move 37, AlphaGo chose to put a black stone in what seemed, at first, like a ridiculous position. It looked certain to give up substantial territory--a rookie mistake in a game that is all about controlling the space on the board. Two television commentators wondered if they had misread the move or if the machine had malfunctioned somehow. In fact, contrary to any conventional wisdom, move 37 would enable AlphaGo to build a formidable foundation in the center of the board. The Google program had effectively won the game using a move that no human would've come up with. One reason that understanding language is so difficult for computers and AI systems is that words often have meanings based on context and even the appearance of the letters and words. In the images that accompany this story, several artists demonstrate the use of a variety of visual clues to convey meanings far beyond the actual letters.
Machines are capable of understanding speech, recognizing faces and driving cars safely, making recent technological advancements seem impressively powerful. But if the field of artificial intelligence is going to make the transformative leap into building human-like machines, it'll first have to master the way babies learn. "Relatively recently in AI there's been a shift from thinking about designing systems that can do the sort of things that adults can do, to realizing if you want to have systems that are as flexible and powerful and do the kinds of things that adults do, you need to have systems that can learn the way babies and children do," developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, told International Business Times. "If you compare what computers can do now to what they could do 10 years ago, they've certainly made a lot of progress, but if you compare them to what a four year old can do, there's still a pretty enormous gap." Babies and children construct theories about the world around them using the same approach scientists use to construct scientific theories.