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.

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