How many problems can I find with this subtitle? I won’t even bother repeating for the ten millionth time that machines can’t learn. That the term itself is composed of two words that when combined in that order results in a logical contradiction and a thing which is logically impossible, a learning machine. To put it more simply, if a machine could learn it would no longer be a machine.

Instead of repeating all that again. I will instead point out the utter ridiculousness of the second part of this subtitle masterclass of the absurd. An algorithm cannot understand anything. Much like a machine, it is incapable (logically incapable) of understanding. Therefore it makes less than zero sense to talk about an algorithm not understanding like a human. In fact it does not make any sense to talk about it not understanding like an anything. I will be generous and assume that the author did not really mean that the algorithms themselves were having problems understanding like a human, but rather she meant to indicate that various computers/computer systems programmed with these ‘learning’ algorithms were having a difficult time with the issue. While it was very generous of me to grant the author this assumption of intent, the statement is just as absurd, illogical, and nonsensical as the the one which suggested that algorithms were having trouble understanding like a human. She might as well have said The Pythagorean Theorem or 2+2=4 were having trouble understanding like a human. I can’t believe I just had to write those sentences. My God man, the world has truly gone crazy. This was in the New York Times. The fucking New York Times.

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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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