The Role of Deep Learning

Deep learning and, more generally, statistical machine learning are powerful tools for discovering patterns in data. As a general paradigm for intelligence, these approaches can only find patterns in the data they are given and they cannot explain the patterns they do find. This is the foundation of superficial, blind, or black-box thinking. Such techniques can be very effective at predicting and controlling complex systems given sufficient volumes of data.

How Today’s AI Falls Short

Statistical machine learning is just a piece of a much more complex model of intelligence. These methods have yet to generate explicable and efficient rationalizations of their decisions – in other words, they have not produced understanding. Understanding comes from the shared human interpretation and conceptualization of data. For that reason, AI technologies and people must collaborate and learn together to build a common understanding of the world. Then they can explain why answers are what they are, right or wrong, good or bad.

Quick sanity check:
Do today’s personal assistants understand?


Where We Go from Here:
Shared Understanding and Explicable Answers

We have to go further. AI systems should not just propose answers. Our technology should explain why answers make sense in ways that people can understand. By providing reasoned responses, people can take responsibility for individual outcomes and not just play the odds. We are developing AI that can learn through collaborative interaction with people and build a shared understanding of how the world works.

From the elements of language, logic, and cognition to shared understanding and thought partnership with people.

We are at the very beginning of our journey towards this type of AI. With this approach as the foundation, our system will be able to accelerate how people learn, reason, and create. The technology will be able to efficiently learn from mistakes and produce not just answers but more importantly explanations for why those answers make sense.  It’s a tough problem to solve, but one that will shape our future.