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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Judea Pearl Criticizes Machine Learning

Quite interesting view.  Pearl's view is interesting.  Bayesian networks in particular has shown a more broadly insightful and transparent view to modeling than machine learning.    But machine learning deep learning can target narrower problems more specifically.

How a Pioneer of Machine Learning Became One of Its Sharpest Critics
Judea Pearl helped artificial intelligence gain a strong grasp on probability, but laments that it still can't compute cause and effect.

 By Kevin Hartnett in The Atlantic

Artificial intelligence owes a lot of its smarts to Judea Pearl. In the 1980s he led efforts that allowed machines to reason probabilistically. Now he’s one of the field’s sharpest critics. In his latest book, The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect, he argues that artificial intelligence has been handicapped by an incomplete understanding of what intelligence really is.

Three decades ago, a prime challenge in artificial-intelligence research was to program machines to associate a potential cause to a set of observable conditions. Pearl figured out how to do that using a scheme called Bayesian networks. Bayesian networks made it practical for machines to say that, given a patient who returned from Africa with a fever and body aches, the most likely explanation was malaria. In 2011 Pearl won the Turing Award, computer science’s highest honor, in large part for this work.

But as Pearl sees it, the field of AI got mired in probabilistic associations. These days, headlines tout the latest breakthroughs in machine learning and neural networks. We read about computers that can master ancient games and drive cars. Pearl is underwhelmed. As he sees it, the state of the art in artificial intelligence today is merely a souped-up version of what machines could already do a generation ago: find hidden regularities in a large set of data. “All the impressive achievements of deep learning amount to just curve fitting,” he said recently.  .... " 

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