Friday, December 12, 2014

Machine Learning: Who's Teaching Whom?

Ever heard of Robo Brain, a system that scours the Internet and teaches other robots how to think. It exists!

Back in 1959, Arthur Samuel defined machine learning as a "field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed". Today, machine learning has become a reality. In fact, machines are now teaching machines. It's no longer science fiction. In fact, machines are now teaching humans.

Machine learning is currently considered a subfield of computer science and has strong ties to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Hopefully you read the recent article we posted in which the world renowned theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking warning that artificial intelligence could end mankind as we know it. Pay attention!

Machine Learning

Machine learning tasks are typically classified into three broad categories - Supervised learning, Unsupervised learning, and Reinforcement learning. In reinforcement learning, a computerized machine interacts with a dynamic environment without a human teacher explicitly telling it what to do, e.g. driving a car or playing a game.

In the early days of AI as an academic discipline, some researchers were interested in having machines learn from data and their focus shifted from AI to building neural networks. In the 1990s, as the field of machine learning started to flourish, the field began narrowing in on solving problems of a more practical nature - especially with the rapid evolution of robotics and their use in a growing number of industries.

Machines Teaching Machines

Twenty years ago humans were teaching machines how to 'think'. Today, machine learning has advanced to the stage where robots are now capable of teaching themselves how to think - without human input. Ever heard of Robo Brain, a system that scours the Internet and teaches other robots how to think. It already exists!

Machines Now Teaching Humans

If you look around today, you can see machines starting to teach humans how to think and act. Is this good or bad? Should we be concerned? Maybe we should be taking Stephen Hawking's warning to heart and not let scientists and corporations run amuck in this arena.

If you are concerned, maybe you should start to check out some of the latest articles about machines learning and robots.

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