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Article Title: Planes don’t flap their wings: does AI work like a brain?


Article Summary

This article deals with the topic of Artificial intelligence; how it’s working is similar to our brain and in what ways it is different from our brain.

The author starts with the story of French inventor Jacques de Vaucanson who in 1739 created a golden digesting duck who when fed pellets would excrete gritty green waste. Later when he died it was found that the duck had no digestive tract rather than breaking down the food, the pellets the duck was fed went into one container and pre-loaded green-dyed breadcrumbs came out of another. The author here correlates that even AI with the help of computers is managing to perform near- or above-human level on tasks. He states that like the French exhibit-goers, any observer would be correctly impressed by these results but what is less clear is that how these results are achieved by AI and whether modern AI works like our brain.

The main idea he presents is the like many areas of modern AI, the success of computer vision can be attributed to artificial neural networks. These algorithms are inspired by how the brain works thus the base unit they use is a simple formula meant to replicate what a neuron does. He explains how computer vision is based on the way humans identify objects.

The author feels that AI does not cheat us like the digesting duck but to understand whether AI works like the brain he briefly explains us various experiments conducted by the various  scientists.  One of the ways to look at this is to compare their performance and the author concludes that even some differences would make these AI computers to make a mistake that humans would not . So AI did not fulfil the first approach. The second approach is measuring only environment and behaviour or we can say, input and output which are limited without direct measurements of the brain connecting them. Thus, the author concludes while giving an example of Belgian artist who made advice that could convert food into faeces that although this machine would replicate the exact working of our natural system and is a true piece of engineering but is this intelligence required by anyone?

Article Link: Click here to read the full article


Words to Learn from this article:

Pellets: a small, rounded, compressed mass of a substance

Trailblazer: a person who is the first to do something; an innovator

Spatial: relating to space

Adversarial: involving or characterised by conflict or opposition

Testament: something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event, or quality


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