finche swings

Friday, February 17, 2006

Raising a Smart Computer

It's always amused me how we, with our giant, complicated brains and overcomplicated worldviews, accept so intuitively the idea that learning requires a lot of time and exposure, even for the smartest of students, and yet we do not extend that intuitive understanding to the expectations we place on our learning machines and software. Would you really expect to sit down with your 1-year-old child, explain the mechanics of walking and the social value of mobility, maybe show them a presentation on DVD about the evolution of mankind's ability to walk, and then turn to that child and so "Okay...So what's the holdup? Get going!" Same for speech. Or drawing. Or even eating cereal from a bowl.

Obviously we are able to understand that building knowledge and ability frameworks takes time and repetition.

So why, then, do we hold our machines to bizarre and inexplicable different standards? Oh, how many times I have read about the failures of software to "read a book and understand it" or "identify the meaning of a speaker's tone". Hell, I know of plenty of adult humans who have trouble with both of those concepts! And yet we expect our piddly little (or even un-piddly big) software to pick it up like *snap*.

It's not very realistic, not to mention unfair


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