Cool. Can you clarify one point for me? At what point did the machine learn something? It sounded like a computer analyzing a large and complicated data set using sophisticated algorithms programmed with advanced (though not really that advanced) statistical and mathematical techniques that attempt to mimic certain aspects of the hypothetico-deductive reasoning process used by humans when they learn. Of course the aspects the algorithms mimic are only theoretical and may be completely wrong as there are literally hundreds of theories of how humans learn each of which can claim some evidence to support it. Since none are totally correct or even complete it would be impossible for a computer scientist to program a computer to replicate, even if the hardware used was identical in structure and function to a human brain. This is not the case for the hardware of any modern computers (artificial neural networks included). To me, it sounded almost exactly like a computer running a program as it was designed to do, and outputting a result as dictated by the program it ran. I must have just missed the part where the machine somehow overcame impossible odds, and against its own nature as described by the definition of the term machine, learned something, instead of just doing exactly what it was programmed to do.

I guess I’ll just never understand these modern fancy computers and their learn’n ways. If only I had one o’ them art’ficial ‘telligences, ‘sted o’ this plain ol’ human brain, then I’d know somethin’ durn’t.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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