Does Artificial Intelligence Need More Innate Machinery?

Debate between Facebook’s head of Artificial Intelligence, Yann LeCun and Prof. Gary Marcus at New York University. The debate was moderated by Prof. David Chalmers and recorded Oct 5th, 2017.

A “nature-nurture” debate took place in the foundations of artificial intelligence. Advocates of deep learning, including Yann LeCun, held that to create advanced artificial intelligence systems, general mechanisms for learning from the environment would play the most important role.

Critics of deep learning, including Gary Marcus, held that these systems would be limited unless they incorporate much more innate domain-specific machinery.

This debate parallels a long-standing debate in the cognitive sciences between nativists, who hold that the brain relies on a great deal of innate domain-specific machinery, and empiricists, who hold that it relies mainly on general mechanisms for learning.

This event is part of a series of debates on foundational issues in the mind-brain sciences sponsored by the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness, directed by Ned Block and David Chalmers.

“Computers today can perform specific tasks very well, but when it comes to general tasks, AI cannot compete with a human child.”
Harry Shum, EVP, AI, Microsoft

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