Summary of Basic Instincts

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The idea that people might create machines more intelligent than humans is both fascinating and frightening. Yet computer science is still struggling to replicate some of the most basic elements of human learning in machines. This insightful article by journalist and Science magazine contributor Matthew Hutson looks at the latest developments in artificial intelligence and why researchers’ attempts to program basic human instincts might be the key to creating truly intelligent machines. getAbstract recommends this article not only to computer geeks, futurists and sci-fi enthusiasts, but anyone with an interest in the possibilities and limitations of modern technology.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why artificial intelligence still often fails at the most basic hurdles;
  • How human learning differs from machine learning; and
  • Why programming human instincts might be the only way to create truly intelligent machines.

About the Author

Matthew Hutson is a science journalist and freelance writer for Science magazine, focusing on artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity and the Internet of Things.



The ability to program human instincts is the next step in artificial intelligence.

Even though machines are now at the stage where they can beat top chess champions, they still fail regularly when it comes to knowledge and skill in different domains. Some researchers argue that this is because AI lacks what they call basic human instincts, which allow humans to react to situations flexibly and with common sense.

Human learning is based on an understanding of objects, actions, numbers and space.

Research in the cognitive sciences has found that human beings are born with instincts...

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