Deep Learning: Teaching Machines To Act Human

Deep Learning -Teaching Machines To Act Human

Recently there were increased news articles about AI: Artificial Intelligence. Some very smart people were concerned about the progress made in the field of advanced machine learning. Among them were serial Entrepreneur Elon Musk, the famous researcher Steven Hawkins and legendary philanthropist Bill Gates. All of them signed an open letter expressing their concern about the future of AI. Cause for the signage was a video showing Google owned company Boston Dynamics recording a trial run of their human robot ‘Atlas’ running through the woods among other recent advances in advanced machine learning.

What is advanced machine learning?

The field of machine learning in computer science has been there for a while. Starting during the second world war, the first attempts to teach computer to learn and being human were made. The recent movie around pioneer Alan Turing shows the origins of this scientific research field. Until today the Turing Test is still applied to evaluate if a computer is categorized as intelligent.

During the 80ies and early 90ies further attempts were made to teach computers to behave human. Early solutions weren’t practical caused by the limited processing power during that time. A lot of time passed since then.

So what exactly is machine learning? It’s basically to teach a computer to make sense of data. To teach him to recognize patterns in input values and gain insights from the process. Simple machine learning can be a regression analysis or simple classification of data depending on a single value pair into different categories. Advanced machine learning, of which deep learning is a part of, applies multiple analysis layers in analyzing big data sets. The first layer of an algorithm look only at certain parts of the data and then deliver the output value to an analysis layer further up the hierarchy conducting more abstract calculations with the input from the lower layer and itself delivering values to an even more abstract layer of algorithms. This structure allows the modeling of the human brain, imitating the network of neurons in the brain with many (trillions) of synapses.

Tapping into the huge potential

Today many layers are applied to solve difficult data analysis problems, therefore the name deep learning. With this methodology it is possible to teach a computer to analyze pictures, handwriting, speech, maps or even videos. In the future all applications that seem to be ‘magical’ will be the result of some kind of deep learning. The application are many: Categorization of images, indexation of unlabelled data, analysis of maps, using big data of many sources to refine and improve prediction models and so forth.

Facebook, Google, IBM and many start-ups today already apply deep learning technologies to gain an edge solve difficult problems. Until today there is no computer who can itself program something that can program. But that day will come, its just a matter of time.

Is it dangerous? Maybe. But it can also do much good if applied correctly.

If you’re interested in deep learning, here are some very interesting companies applying this cutting edge technology:

Have you heard about deep learning before? What do you think: Is it the future? Are you afraid of AI? I’m interested what you think so please leave a comment!


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9 responses to “Deep Learning: Teaching Machines To Act Human”

  1. 437197dv says :

    Deep learning is indeed interesting! I’m also very interested in the future implications of AI, and especially the deep learning aspect. Because, as you mention, the theoretical possibilities can be unlimited.

    I believe it will become a considerable part of our world. It will be important in medical science for example, as these complex algorithms can calculate, and most importantly recognize, patherns of certain diseases before we humans can. It can open up certain diseases, as deep learning focuses on all parts of a disease, and especially on some parts that we humans never considered.

    There was an interesting TEDtalk about deep learning by Jeremy Howard, where he states the endless possibilities of deep learning.

    It is interesting to see how he states that employment may suffer, as these machines can become way more complex than human brains in the end. They can keep evolving and learning, eventually surpassing our mind.

    But I don’t believe in a dangerous future yet, with SkyNet proportions.. However, if these machines could really develop themselves as some scientists mention, it definitely requires attention.

  2. miflossrox says :

    Very interesting read. For the ones who havn’t seen the video of Atlas running through a forest, take a look : I must say, watching it for the first time spooked me out

    It is a fact that AI is growing rapidly and has seen much progress in the recent years, but i am a firm believer that we will never be able to match the deep learning abilities of the human brain. Many people may argue the fact that even today some machines are able to perform some tasks much more efficiently such as playing rock paper scissors ( or play ping pong ( but how would we ever replicate emotions?

    Us humans often make reckless, rash decisions, which often lead to undesirable consequences. More often than not, these decisions spawn from affection, anger, despair and excitement just to name a few. Should robots with their state of the art AI lack the ability to feel such emotions, our image of the future should seize to be of dystopian nature.

    With that being said, i have strong confidence in our ability to control any possible threat artificial intelligence could impose upon us in the years to come. For me personally, we should be more worried about our own species for some of us will seek out this technology for the wrong reasons.

    Great article!


  3. Alje Dijkema says :

    Great article! Personally, I am a bit torn between the possibilities for AI and the potential threat that it poses. Of course there are wonderful applications for AI, ranging from diagnostics in the world of medicine, to aiding us in exploring the universe and unlocking the secrets of our own mind. However, there are also dangers hidden in the singularity.

    Although I highly doubt we will ever have Terminator like scenarios where an AI program nukes the planet, I do think that we need to be very careful when trying to teach a computer to think and act for itself. Consider for a moment that survival is what drives every living being. Be it survival in its own right or survival of the species, everything is geared towards that end. A computer that has the capability to think for itself might at some point have that same drive. Then what? We are at a stalemate because we are each other’s greatest threat to survival.

    The deep philosophical debate on AI is far beyond me, but there are great minds alive today who perceive it as the greatest threat to our existence. They can’t all be crazy right?

  4. lnfernanda says :

    Interesting post! I’m very interested in the future applications of AI as well. What would be possible when we are old?

    I do believe that AI is the future, since we are seeing the twist between human and machine intelligence. The most current example is the bond with our cell phone, since 70% would rather give up alcohol than their cell phone. Nowadays we cannot imagine a life without a cell phone since they guide us home, connect us to the people we love, teach us new things and are doing a better job in predicting our behaviour than humans can. 20 years ago nobody imagined that this would be the case.

    Nowadays it is even possible to let a robot cook and it probably taste better than I cook since it is replicating the movements of a master chef ( Would this change the future of cooking?

    Personally I’m not afraid of AI, for the reason that it could be really convenient and make our lives easier. However, we should be careful and asking ourselves if we really want this.

  5. Parmeni says :

    Although it is a rare event, sometimes it happens that the key ideas, which realize a conceptual paradigm shift, are not discovered by famous researchers, or by large companies, but by unknown people.
    Let me recommend the work of this Italian researcher. I think he will leave an important contribution in the field of AI. (in italian)

    here something in English

  6. lisbethhm says :

    Great post! You make some interesting points regarding were intelligent technology is headed. I can definitely see the benefits of such technology, however I am also worried about the threats this brings. Both Bill Gates, Elon Musk (the entrepreneur behind the Tesla electric cars) and Stephen Hawking have all warned about the existential threat AL brings. I don’t believe this threat is the developments of robots that will end all humans, but the equation of how we will be able to stop the development of AL once it has become so intelligent that is wish to take over the power, or when its intelligence surpass all mankind intelligence. I think these are important questions to consider when discussing the development of such technology.

    Oxford academic Dr Stuart Armstrong makes an interesting remark when he explains how “Humans steer the future not because we’re the strongest or the fastest, but because we’re the smartest.” What will then happen when we are no longer the smartest?

  7. rayminglei says :

    In my opinion (advanced) “machine learning” described only a part of the broader topic “artificial intelligence”. “Machine learning” is about building a “brain” and AI is about to make that “brain” interacting with the external environment.

    I have been paying attention to the two topics “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning” for quite a while, since I saw this video on youtube. So I felt like this is worth sharing here:

    This video is not rigorous in terms of academic aspect. And some arguments here are just for entertainment purpose. But just brings out this topic perfectly.
    There is one sentence in particular I like in this video, “They don’t need to be perfect, they just need to be better than us.” And in many industries, the AI applications are already better than human beings.

  8. 375587af says :

    Interesting read! AI is indeed gaining a lot of attention from the media and for good reason. It is becoming a real possibility much faster than people expected. Now that it is definitely a possibility in the near future, people are scared of Terminator-like scenarios. This fear is quite well-founded since it is likely the highly intelligent computer will see us as a threat very soon after it has developed intelligence equal to an average human.

    However, as someone said above, we do not really know how likely the scenario is. Stephen Hawking recently elaborated on his open letter and why we should be scared of AI and what he said is quite surprising. We should not fear AI per se, but how AI would impact capitalism.

    What he says makes a lot of sense. Assuming this powerful AI will only be available to the very rich, but will at the same time replace/automate many of the jobs that were held by the poor/middle-class before, the wage gap will grow to never-before seen levels. If the ultra rich lobby successfully against wealth redistribution, this dystopian scenario is a real threat to mankind. If you have have watched the movie “Elysium”, you have a closer image of what this scenario looks like. For those who have not, I recommend watching it as it is a decent movie!

    As a final note, I find myself surprised with my thoughts. If in such a scenario, the only solution seems to be wealth redistribution, could Marx and the communist movement have been right all along, but just implemented at the wrong time?

  9. 436750am says :

    Artificial Intelligence is not a new subject. Deep learning on the other hand is and has evidently derived from people’s need to understand this enormous amount of data that organizations collect. Machines will always be machines and when it comes to computations in analyzing data it is more than obvious that they far exceed people’s minds.

    But, extracting useful information from data will never seize to be a human’s obligation and so should be treated as a benefit that is given to us and should not be put in machines to deal with, as there are concepts that machines cannot understand and that even the best of programmers cannot make them understand. So, when it comes to deep learning and if it should scare us, I believe that it should, to the extent that is not properly used by its creators, us people.

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