Watch and learn: Machines taught to learn through observation

We take learning for granted. From infancy, humans have an innate ability to learn from our observations, enabling us to mimic conversation, avoid unpleasant environments, and recognize that good behavior begets rewards. For machines, these tasks are hardly as easy. But researchers from the University of Sheffield say they have developed a method that helps artificial systems learn by observing the world around them. It may lay a new foundation for predictive and learning technologies. Dubbed “Turing learning,” this new method was inspired by the famous Turing test, which was first proposed by the father of computer science, Alan Turing, in 1950. In the traditional Turing test, a human interrogator converses with two unseen entities, one being human and the other being an artificial intelligence. If the interrogator cannot distinguish the human from the…

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