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On the other hand, the following is an algorithm for playing tic-tac-toe:. Not all neuroscientists believe in the unity of the cortex; we need to learn more before we can be sure. The question of just what the brain can and can’t learn is also hotly debated. But if there’s something we know but the brain can’t learn, it must have been learned by evolution.. Of course, we don’t have to start from scratch in our hunt for the Master Algorithm. We have a few decades of machine learning research to draw on. Some of the smartest people on the planet have devoted their lives to inventing learning algorithms, and some would even claim that they already have a universal learner in hand. We will stand on the shoulders of these giants, but take such claims with a grain of salt. Which raises the question: how will we know when we’ve found the Master Algorithm? When the same learner, with only parameter changes and minimal input aside from the data, can understand video and text as well as humans, and make significant new discoveries in biology, sociology, and other sciences. Clearly, by this standard no learner has yet been demonstrated to be the Master Algorithm, even in the unlikely case one already exists.. If you liked Star Trek: The Next Generationand Titanic,you’ll like Avatar.. Therefore Socrates is mortal.. [Картинка: pic_12.jpg]. What is sex for?. In the burglary example, the full table of thirty-two probabilities is never represented explicitly, but it’s implicit in the collection of smaller tables and graph structure. To obtainP(Burglary, Earthquake, Alarm, Bob calls, Claire calls), all I have to do is multiplyP(Burglary),P(Earthquake),P(Alarm | Burglary, Earthquake),P(Bob calls | Alarm), andP(Claire calls | Alarm). It’s the same in any Bayesian network: to obtain the probability of a complete state, just multiply the probabilities from the corresponding lines in the individual variables’ tables. So, provided the conditional independencies hold, no information is lost by switching to the more compact representation. And in this way we can easily compute the probabilities of extremely unusual states, including states that were never observed before. Bayesian networks give the lie to the common misconception that machine learning can’t predict very rare events, or “black swans,” as Nassim Taleb calls them.. In many cases we can do this and avoid the exponential blowup. Suppose you’re leading a platoon in single file through enemy territory in the dead of night, and you want to make sure that all your soldiers are still with you. You could stop and count them yourself, but that wastes too much time. A cleverer solution is to just ask the first soldier behind you: “How many soldiers are behind you?” Each soldier asks the next the same question, until the last one says “None.” The next-to-last soldier can now say “One,” and so on all the way back to the first soldier, with each soldier adding one to the number of soldiers behind him. Now you know how many soldiers are still with you, and you didn’t even have to stop.. [Картинка: pic_22.jpg]. The same idea of forming a local model rather than a global one applies beyond classification. Scientists routinely use linear regression to predict continuous variables, but most phenomena are not linear. Luckily, they’re locally linear because smooth curves are locally well approximated by straight lines. So if instead of trying to fit a straight line to all the data, you just fit it to the points near the query point, you now have a very powerful nonlinear regression algorithm. Laziness pays. If Kennedy had needed a complete theory of international relations to decide what to do about the Soviet missiles in Cuba, he would have been in trouble. Instead, he saw an analogy between that crisis and the outbreak of World War I, and that analogy guided him to the right decisions.. Another notable early success of SVMs was in text classification, which proved a major boon because the web was then just taking off. At the time, Naïve Bayes was the state-of-the-art text classifier, but when every word in the language is a dimension, even it can start to overfit. All it takes is a word that, by chance, occurs in, say, all sports pages in the training data and no others, and Naïve Bayes starts to hallucinate that every page containing that word is a sports page. But, thanks to margin maximization, SVMs can resist overfitting even in very high dimensions.. This algorithm is calledk-means, and its origins go back to the fifties. It’s nice and simple and quite popular, but it has several shortcomings, some of which are easier to solve than others. For one, we need to fix the number of clusters in advance, but in the real world, Robby is always running into new kinds of objects. One option is to let an object start a new cluster if it’s too different from the existing ones. Another is to allow clusters to split and merge as we go along. Either way, we probably want the algorithm to include a preference for fewer clusters, lest we wind up with each object as its own cluster (hard to beat if we want clusters to consistof similar objects, but clearly not the goal).. Learning to relate. The kind of company I’m envisaging would do several things in return for a subscription fee. It would anonymize your online interactions, routing them through its servers and aggregating them with its other users’. It would store all the data from all your life in one place-down to your 24/7 Google Glass video stream, if you ever get one. It would learn a complete model of you and your world and continually update it. And it would use the model on your behalf, always doing exactly what you would, to the best of the model’s ability. The company’s basic commitment to you is that your data and your model will never be used against your interests. Such a guarantee can never be foolproof-you yourself are not guaranteed to never do anything against your interests, after all. But the company’s life would depend on it as much as a bank’s depends on the guarantee that it won’t lose your money, so you should be able to trust it as much as you trust your bank..