The Best AI Still Flunks 8th Grade Science

In 2012, IBM Watson went to medical school. So said The New York Times, announcing that the tech giant’s artificially intelligent question-and-answer machine had begun a “stint as a medical student” at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.This was just a metaphor. Clinicians were helping IBM train Watson for use in medical research. But as metaphors go, it wasn’t a very good one. Three years later, our artificially intelligent machines can’t even pass an eighth-grade science test, much less go to medical school. So says Oren Etzioni, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington and the executive director of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the AI think-tank funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Etzioni and the non-for-profit Allen Institute recently ran a contest, inviting nearly…

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