The Future Will See You Now

This ‘Highly Advanced’ Computer Is Dumber Than Your Toddler

Stupid computer.
This kid is smarter than a computer. (Flickr/Mel Silvers)

This kid is smarter than a computer. (Flickr/Mel Silvers)

For being one of the most advanced artificial intelligence systems to ever exist, the ConceptNet 4 is kind of an idiot.  Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago revealed today that the M.I.T.-developed computer is as stupid as your 4-year-old nephew.

UIC analysts put the computer through the verbal portions IQ assessment exam usually given to young children and found that ConceptNet 4 flailed more than Miss South Carolina. The dumb computer scored unevenly across different sections of the exam–it excelled at vocabulary and in recognizing similarities but did worse than a young kids on answering ‘why’ questions.

After reviewing the results, a researcher found the computer basically had the mental capacity of a child following a juice box binge:

“If a child had scores that varied this much, it might be a symptom that something was wrong,” said Robert Sloan, professor and head of computer science at UIC, and lead author on the study.

Mr. Sloan said it’s not the computer’s fault for being so incredibly moronic, rather that machines aren’t equipped with “implicit facts,” or things that are obvious to humans. For example, a “computer may know the temperature at which water freezes, but we know that ice is cold.”

His team is working on a computer program that assists the devices in figuring out facts in simple situations. But that’s not going to happen overnight, he warns:

“We’re still very far from programs with commonsense–AI that can answer comprehension questions with the skill of a child of 8,” said Sloan.

Yikes, hopefully ConceptNet 4 is decent at lacrosse or else he’s headed to a safety school.

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