Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

Researchers are struggling to replicate AI studies

February 16, 2018

Missing code and data are making it difficult to compare machine-learning work—and that may be hurting progress.

The problem:  Science reports that from a sample of 400 papers at top AI conferences in recent years, only 6 percent of presenters shared code. Just a third shared data, and a little over half shared summaries of their algorithms, known as pseudocode.

Why it matters: Without access to that information, it’s hard to reproduce a study’s findings. That makes it all but impossible to benchmark newly developed tools against existing ones, so it’s hard for researchers to know which direction to push future research.

How to solve it: Sometimes a lack of sharing may be understandable—say, if intellectual property is owned by a private firm. But there seems to be a wider-spread culture of keeping details under wraps. Some meetings and journals are now encouraging sharing; perhaps more ought to follow.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

Sam Altman says helpful agents are poised to become AI’s killer function

Open AI’s CEO says we won’t need new hardware or lots more training data to get there.

Is robotics about to have its own ChatGPT moment?

Researchers are using generative AI and other techniques to teach robots new skills—including tasks they could perform in homes.

What’s next for generative video

OpenAI's Sora has raised the bar for AI moviemaking. Here are four things to bear in mind as we wrap our heads around what's coming.

An AI startup made a hyperrealistic deepfake of me that’s so good it’s scary

Synthesia's new technology is impressive but raises big questions about a world where we increasingly can’t tell what’s real.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.