Scientists teach machines to learn like humans

This paper compares human and machine learning for a wide range of simple visual concepts, or handwritten characters selected from alphabets around the world. This is an artist’s interpretation of that theme. Art by Danqing Wang. Credit: Danqing Wang A team of scientists has developed an algorithm that captures our learning abilities, enabling computers to recognize and draw simple visual concepts that are mostly indistinguishable from those created by humans. The work, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Science, marks a significant advance in the field—one that dramatically shortens the time it takes computers to ‘learn’ new concepts and broadens their application to more creative tasks. “Our results show that by reverse engineering how people think about a problem, we can develop better algorithms,” explains Brenden Lake,…


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