Kids’ brains may hold the secret to building better AI | VOX

Kids’ brains may serve as an important model for building better AI, according to a recent article by Vox.

“The mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing hit on a promising direction for artificial intelligence research way back in 1950. “Instead of trying to produce a program to simulate the adult mind,” he wrote, “why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s?”

Now AI researchers are finally putting Turing’s ideas into action. They’re realizing that by paying attention to how children process information, they can pick up valuable lessons about how to create machines that learn.”

Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik thinks that this approach is the clear path forward, and explains why in her essay “AIs Versus Four-Year-Olds” (featured in the anthology Possible Minds: 25 Ways of Looking at AI)  In the interview with Vox, she explains:

“It’s called Moravec’s paradox: The things we thought would be hard — like playing chess — are things machines can do very easily, yet they can’t do things a 4-year-old can do.

The puzzle for development psychology is we don’t really understand how it is that kids can easily do what they do. We know they can make these wide-ranging inferences from very small amounts of data. They’ve got a lot of [innate] knowledge through evolution. But how can they make good inferences about things that weren’t part of our evolutionary ancestry? Look at a 4-year-old with a smartphone. They can manage it better than you can! This system hasn’t been out in the world before, yet kids are very good at mastering it. We don’t have a clue how that’s possible.”

Read the full article from Vox to learn more.

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