Attempting to Code the Human Brain

Both startups and established technology firms increasingly are pursuing artificial intelligence that mimics the brain because of the tremendous potential of applications with human-like intelligence, but the technology is still in its early phases. Improved computing processors and advances in computer-learning methodologies are paving the way for artificial intelligence that could bring human intelligence to tasks such as identifying objects in photos, translating foreign languages, and guiding self-driving cars through intersections. For example, Vicarious, was founded with the goal of exploring the brain’s sensory capabilities, especially vision’s role in early human development. Vicarious’ software began like an infant by learning to identify simple shapes such as text, and is now starting to grasp texture and lighting. In the future, the company aims to have the software learn to move within the physical world and understand cause-and-effect relationships. Known for claiming last October that its software could defeat CAPTCHAs 90 percent of the time, Vicarious is still refining perception issues in its software. Vicarious says it might need additional engineers and five to 10 years to refine its software. Meanwhile, Deepmind, a startup similar to Vicarious, last week was acquired by Google, which could use artificial intelligence to improve search results. Facebook also is interested in artificial intelligence to better understand users.

More info: The Wall Street Journal (02/03/14) Evelyn M. Rusli

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