Vitals – Baby brains…the secret to a smarter computer?

01/04/2012 3:03
Vitals – Baby brains…the secret to a smarter computer?

The irony to this piece is that whilst they recognise the magnificent thing which is a child’s mind and their capacity to learn, they want to make computers more like babies and children more like computers (i.e. to only function within parameters that they define as important and useful). It’s sort of like telling Salvador Dali that he could paint anything that he wants…. as long as its a stick figure.

Excerpts below -the full article can be read from the link above  
…Cognitive scientists hope to bottle up a baby’s brain — and the imagination and air of possibility that comes with it — and use the result to make computers smarter.
“Children are the greatest learning machines in the universe,” …. “Imagine if computers could learn as much and as quickly as they do,” 

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.”

Tess Michaels