Can computers learn like humans?

We're making headway with artificial intelligence, but if we want computers to learn like then then they're going to have to think a lot harder.

17th April 2016
Can computers learn like humans? (© Getty Images)

Asked by: Austin Toole, Falmouth

To make computers learn, we use software that simulates neurons connected in networks like in a brain. These networks are trained with data until they can learn patterns or make predictions about what data might come next. Methods like these help computers understand speech or recognise car number plates, so in this respect computers can learn a little bit like humans. But humans are still much better – we can learn complex concepts and a vast number of different ideas.

As we still don’t fully understand how brains work, computers are unlikely to be as good at learning as humans for hundreds of years.

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