Why Scientists are Training AI to Take Standardized Tests

Researchers hope training machines to the test will allow for advances in imbuing software with basic common sense.

Computer software has proven itself to be a lot better than humans at a whole lot of things: search queries, indexing, calculations, etc. But common sense is not currently one of those things. That's why computer scientists are toying with a bunch of neat new strategies for instilling in AI the main cognitive ability we possess that it doesn't -- the ability to learn.


For example, a team of researchers out of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle is training their AI program, named Aristo, to take the New York state fourth grade standard science exams. Oren Etzioni, the Allen Institute's CEO, argues that standardized tests offer a strong benchmark for tracking the progress of machine learning.

To understand what he means, let's revert quickly to standardized tests. They get a bad rap around here and deservedly so, as they're not a great way to guide our school children toward creative thinking or a lifelong love of learning. Luckily for computer scientists, AI isn't like your typical fourth grader.

Microsoft Director of Search Stefan Weitz explains that the future of machine learning consists of teaching artificial intelligence to identify patterns.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Afghanistan is the most depressed country on earth

No, depression is not just a type of 'affluenza' – poor people in conflict zones are more likely candidates

Image: Our World in Data / CC BY
Strange Maps
  • Often seen as typical of rich societies, depression is actually more prevalent in poor, conflict-ridden countries
  • More than one in five Afghans is clinically depressed – a sad world record
  • But are North Koreans really the world's 'fourth least depressed' people?
Keep reading Show less

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
  • It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
  • Some claimed 'Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.