Child’s Play

Alison Gopnik Everyone knows the Turing test. But almost no one remembers Alan Turing’s statement that to achieve true intelligence, you should design a machine that was like a child. He said the real secret to human intelligence is our ability to learn. Thirty years of developmental cognitive science have shown that children are the best learners on earth. But how do they learn so much so quickly? For the last 15 years developmental cognitive scientists and computer scientists have been trying to answer this question, and the answers shape new kinds of machine learning (see “Can This Man Make AI More Human?”). Many of the recent advances in AI have come through techniques like deep learning, which can detect complicated statistical regularities in enormous data sets. Computers can suddenly…

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