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Aristo A.I. scores ‘A’ on 8th-grade science test
An A.I. named Aristo was able to use its language and logic skills to pass a standardized exam with flying colors.
- An A.I. called Aristo, developed by the Allen Institute, was able to correctly answer 90 percent of questions on a science exam designed for eighth graders.
- The success represents recent progress in the A.I. industry to develop systems that understand language.
- It doesn't mean computers are nearly as smart as eighth-graders, but it does suggest we might soon see some striking improvements in A.I.-based technology.
Could you score an 'A' on an eighth-grade science test? If so, you're in the same league as Aristo, an artificial intelligence system whose remarkable language and logic skills highlight recent progress in the A.I. industry.
For context: Four years ago, some 700 computer scientists competed for $80,000 to develop an A.I. that could merely pass an eighth-grade science test. None scored higher than 60 percent. But now, thanks to improved "language models" driven by neural networks, systems like Aristo are becoming much better at predicting language and understanding how to apply it to solve logic-based tasks.
Aristo, as The New York Times notes, is built on a neural-network technology called Bert, developed by Google. Bert was instructed to "read" thousands of articles and books, through which it learned about the patterns and mechanics of language. Eventually, Bert was able to look at a sentence with a missing word and correctly guess what it was.
Similarly, Aristo, developed by the Seattle-based Allen Institute, "read" numerous questions and answers that might be found on multiple-choice exams. Over time, the AI was able to learn logical patterns. However, the system is designed only to interpret language, meaning it can answer multiple choice questions, but not those featuring an illustration or graph.
But it was able to answer logic-based questions like this:
Which change would most likely cause a decrease in the number of squirrels living in an area?
(1) a decrease in the number of predators
(2) a decrease in competition between the squirrels
(3) an increase in available food
(4) an increase in the number of forest fires
Aristo's ability to correctly answer (4) represents a significant jump from previous A.I. systems, like AlphaGo. In 2015, the Google-developed AlphaGo became the first computer to beat a professional human Go player in a match without handicaps. But, impressive as that was, winning Go is a matter of learning and exploiting a fixed set of rules. In contrast, successfully learning and applying logic to answer questions about the world, as Aristo does, is another pursuit altogether.
Still, Aristo's success doesn't mean computers are anywhere near as smart as eighth graders, but it does suggest that we could soon see striking improvements in A.I.-based products, such as search engines.
"This has significant business consequences," Oren Etzioni, a former University of Washington professor who oversees the Allen Institute, told The New York Times. "What I can say — with complete confidence — is you are going to see a whole new generation of products, some from start-ups, some from the big companies."
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.