Ali Rahimi, a researcher in artificial intelligence (AI) at Google, took a swipe at his field last December—and received a 40-second ovation for it. Speaking at an AI conference, Rahimi charged that machine learning algorithms, in which computers learn through trial and error, have become a form of “alchemy.” Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t. Without deep understanding of the basic tools needed to build and train new algorithms, he says, researchers creating AIs resort to hearsay, like medieval alchemists. Jeff and Anthony are ready for the 24k gold robots.
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