Sure, neural networks can easily classify images—but they still don’t really understand what they see without human intervention. That much is made plain in Google’s new AI tutorial, called Teachable Machine, which was brought to our attention by the Verge. You can watch it in action in the video above, or try it out for yourself. It’s fun to play with: you train an AI to classify images by showing it objects via your webcam, which it then associates with a GIF or sound that it plays on demand when shown those objects again.
But that sentence pretty much says it all: the kind of deep neural network that’s being used to power this simple example—and, arguably, most machine learning that's currently in use around the world—is, essentially, performing advanced pattern recognition, but little else. Beyond identifying, say, your waving hand, and differentiating it from a view of your wall, the AI has no clue about what it’s seeing, unless it’s provided with huge quantities of labeled data. And it certainly can't abstract further, to work out the kinds of deeper meaning you might associate with a seemingly inanimate object being held in front of a web cam.
For a deeper dive into the limitations of deep learning, read our recent article, “Is AI Riding a One-Trick Pony?”
Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build
“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”
Deep learning pioneer Geoffrey Hinton has quit Google
Hinton will be speaking at EmTech Digital on Wednesday.
The future of generative AI is niche, not generalized
ChatGPT has sparked speculation about artificial general intelligence. But the next real phase of AI will be in specific domains and contexts.
Video: Geoffrey Hinton talks about the “existential threat” of AI
Watch Hinton speak with Will Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review’s senior editor for AI, at EmTech Digital.
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