Scientists such as Gopnik have known a healthy newborn brain contains a lifetime’s supply of some 100 billion neurons; as a baby matures, these brain cells grow a vast network of synapses or connections (about 15,000 by the age of 2 or 3), which allow tots to learn languages and social skills, all the while figuring out how to survive and thrive in their environment.
Adults, meanwhile, tend to focus more on the goal at hand rather than letting their powers of imagination run wild. It’s this combination — goal-minded adults and open-minded children — that may be ideal for teaching computers new tricks, the researchers suspect… This childlike exploratory and “probabilistic” reasoning could make computers not just smarter, but more adaptable and more human, the team says.
“Young children are capable of solving problems that still pose a challenge for computers, such as learning languages and figuring out causal relationships,…. We are hoping to make computers smarter by making them a little more like children.”