Uh Oh. The Robots Are Beginning to Learn


Thu, Oct 21st, 2010 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using the Internet as a classroom, Carnegie Mellon University has taught a computer how to read and learn from it. The machine is called NELL (Never Ending Language Learner) and by reading the internet it is learning from it in much the same way humans learn language and acquire knowledge: by soaking it all up and figuring it out. The system is working as NELL is apparently getting brainier every day.

One of the cool things about NELL is that it judges what it finds: whenever it discovers a fact, it might upgrade it to a belief if it finds it comes from a single trusted source, or if the fact come from several less reliable sources.

Unfortunately, once NELL changes a fact to a belief, it stays a belief. It cannot unlearn stuff. NELL's human handlers had to tell it that Klingon is not an ethnic group and that "right posterior" isn't a body part. NELL also thinks the First Amendment is a musical instrument and that the Second Amendment is a 'hobby.' Never mind what it thinks of the fifth.



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