Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Advances in Computer Literacy

Some big news in the world of AI. A computer at MIT has learned to read! Which is actually a much bigger breakthrough than you might think.

Computers, as we know, have no problem treating words as raw data. But they've never scored very high in reading for comprehension. Until now. MIT researchers set a computer to the task of playing the game "Civilization II". With no prior instruction, learning the game simply through trial and error, the computer was able to win 46% of its games. Which still sounds pretty impressive to me. Then the computer was given an instruction manual to read. The manual is written in broad language, intended to give the basics of the game. It tells you how to play, but not necessarily how to win. Once the computer read the manual, though, it won 79% of the games it played. It even began devising strategies, extrapolating upon the information from the manual.

All of which is very cool and exciting, but it does beg the question: are we really sure we want to be teaching our supercomputers to play games of world domination? Really?

You can read the full article here.


Beam Me Up said...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah huummmmmm I am so tempted to say Judgement Day!!!! Are YOU PEOPLE INSANE! but I may be over reacting...

Homer said...

OK - first thing that come to mind - WAR GAMES!!

Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?
Later. Let's play Global Thermonuclear War.

I remember 30 years ago when we processed all of the bank accounts for the largest bank in my state on a computer system that had less power and storage than my cell phone. Ain't progress wonderful?

Skynet - here we come!!!!

Beam Me Up said...

Really! Like they say...great at handling the data of the writing but never understanding what the really meant. When you think about it you are getting a sneak peak at what true self aware hardware is going to be like.

JoshM said...

On the other hand, being taken over by a computer that reads, strategizes, and learns from mistakes just might be the best thing that could happen to our civilization ...

Beam Me Up said...

Famous last words.

JoshM said...

Well... looking at the current state of politics, it makes an updated version of Plato's Philosopher King look not so bad now, doesn't it?

It's an interesting idea in theory. Realistically, don't know how I'd feel about it.