Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Is AI Riding a One-Trick Pony?

Classmate Yifei Wu provides a thought-provoking new article from the MIT Technology Review, "Is AI Riding a One-Trick Pony?". The piece is a rejoinder to some of the more optimistic takes on AI that we've seen in the class, as it shows in considerable detail just why the breakthroughs we expect may not be so near. The culprit? Outmoded technology that only appears cutting-edge. Here's an illustrative quote:
When you boil it down, AI today is deep learning, and deep learning is backprop—which is amazing, considering that backprop is more than 30 years old. It’s worth understanding how that happened—how a technique could lie in wait for so long and then cause such an explosion—because once you understand the story of backprop, you’ll start to understand the current moment in AI, and in particular the fact that maybe we’re not actually at the beginning of a revolution. Maybe we’re at the end of one.

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