It was both charming and frightening when Google made the robot brain that learned what a cat was just by watching videos of them on YouTube. The kind of artificial intelligence that makes these feats possible will obviously be the downfall of man at the hands of the robots. Despite the warnings of many paranoid people, science continues to march forward towards our eventual extinction.
It all starts with an algorithm proposed by Dr. Łukasz Kaiser of Universite Paris Diderot. The algorithm proposes that machines can learn how anything works just by watching how it works. It's like if Google's cat loving computer learned what a cat was and then learned how to care for a cat by watching more videos of these actions.
This algorithm is not being tested on cats though. The tests are currently centered around games and learning how to play said games. The hope is that a computer can watch people playing a game like Connect 4 and then learn how to beat a human opponent just by watching them. Sure, machines can beat humans in Chess, but the machine has to be programmed by a human with all the potential moves available to it.
What makes Dr. Kaiser's research so fascinating, and terrifying, is that machines would only have to watch to learn. We as humans learn by observing things around us and we're giving machines that same ability. Of course, now we have to discuss machine rights and whether or not I'm a machinist. Look, I don't hate machines, but I would not like to be killed by something that can't feel basic emotions.
If you want to learn more about the downfall of humanity, check out Dr. Kaiser's presentation on his research at the Third Conference on Artificial General Intelligence.