NEIL the Computer Program Tries to Learn Common Sense

Posted on Nov 27 2013 - 7:33pm by Robert

The day that a computer learns common sense may very well be the day the world changes forever. Gulp, it could happen soon thanks to a computer program being run at Carnegie Mellon University.

The computer program in question is rather scarily named NEIL. Actually, Neil isn’t all that scary a name but it stands for Never Ending Image Learner, which is a little more worrying. It will never stop learning. Ever.

The program carries on analysing images 24 hours every day as it tries to link images and understand the world on the same level as a human.

3 Million Images Since July

blurThe people behind NEIL are from the US Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research as well as Google. The program has run since July of this year and has so far analysed 3 million images. During this time it has managed to make 2,500 different associations by identifying 1,500 objects and 1,200 scenes. The idea is that it will eventually be able to work out the relationships between different things without even being told.

Abhinav Gupta from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon said that images represent the “best way” to learn visual properties and include a lot of “common sense information”. Humans learn this on their own and he hopes that NEIL will soon be able to do the same.

What uses can you think of for a computer program which learns common sense in a human way?


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