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An AI Pioneer Wants His Algorithms to Understand the 'Why'

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University of Montreal's Yoshua Bengio

AI systems should understand causality, says Yoshua Bengio. "Humans don't need to live through many examples of accidents to drive prudently," he says.

Yoshua Bengio, a researcher at the University of Montreal in Canada and co-recipient of the 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award for contributions to the development of deep learning, thinks artificial intelligence will not realize its full potential until it can move beyond pattern recognition and learn more about cause and effect, which would make existing AI systems smarter and more efficient. A robot that understands dropping things causes them to break, for example, would not need to toss dozens of vases onto the floor to see what happens to them.

Bengio is developing a version of deep learning that can recognize simple cause-and-effect relationships. His team used a dataset that maps causal relationships between real-world phenomena in terms of probabilities. The resulting algorithm essentially forms a hypothesis about which variables are causally related, and then tests how changes to different variables fit the theory.

From Wired
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