Natural Thinking Machine

A Computer (or, perhaps, a computer program) that can "learn" by itself. Often implemented using NeuralNetworks.

Does a NTM have to "learn" toward an objective? How do you measure what it has learned? What are good learning programs?

One of the foundations of ArtificialIntelligence.

Along with ...?

What qualifies a computer as a machine that can "learn" by itself? Well, at the moment machines can't really "learn" by themselves. There are three general approaches to machine learning: And each of these has various algorithms for accomplishing the task. But this is more in the nature of PatternRecognition than what you would call a parallel to HumanLearning?. There are also learning methods that learn concepts instead of numbers; e.g., InductiveLogicProgramming is a sort of concept-based learning method.


NTMs are more commonly called people. Educational psychology offers a vast literature on NTM learning, especially assessment, and instructional design (e.g. setting learning objectives).


The only other mention I see of this phrase is from an article in Europhysics News talking about artificial intelligence. I suspect they are referring to MachineLearning.

I read that article too... rather interesting. It prompted me to write an essay about Machine Curriculum (on my web site). -- JeffChapman
What is the difference between "teaching" a machine that can learn and "programming" that machine? Would we eventually hire "computer teachers" with a different skill set than programmers to sit down with the ThinkingMachine and give it lessons?

I think one important difference between programming and learning is that a teacher makes the assumption that the student is an intelligent agent: the student can generalize from examples, occasionally ask questions, and can tolerate some noise in the instruction. A prime example is natural language: people can learn it, but so far no-one has programmed (or taught) a computer enough natural language to speak it fluently.
Let us here make a some quickly composed points about some combinations of the three words. Aside from the fact that the title is probably an oxymoron, it is worthwhile to examine what is implied by the usage of these three words. Taken two at a time:

Natural Thinking Machine Thinking Thinking Machine Natural Machine In a sense the universe is a machine which contains both objects which are animated and inanimated, which can be said to have life, or not to have life. The animated or moving non-alive parts of the machine are not in motion by thought, but by initialized and physically deterministic movements.

Now taking all three together NaturalThinkingMachine -- It does not and cannot exist unless it has a life, and no such machines are presently in production, and if they were, they would no longer be machines.


-- EwDijkstra


See also David Aha's Machine Learning page at: Other Links:
CategoryArtificialIntelligence CategoryEvolution

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