...perhaps a nightmare for highly skilled computer programmers: artificially intelligent machines that can build other artificially intelligent machines...the Google project called AutoML...a machine-learning algorithm that learns to build other machine-learning algorithms.
The tech industry is promising everything from smartphone apps that can recognize faces to cars that can drive on their own. But by some estimates, only 10,000 people worldwide have the education, experience and talent needed to build the complex and sometimes mysterious mathematical algorithms that will drive this new breed of artificial intelligence.
Neural networks are rapidly accelerating the development of A.I. Rather than building an image-recognition service or a language translation app by hand, one line of code at a time, engineers can much more quickly build an algorithm that learns tasks on its own.
In building a neural network, researchers run dozens or even hundreds of experiments across a vast network of machines, testing how well an algorithm can learn a task like recognizing an image or translating from one language to another. Then they adjust particular parts of the algorithm over and over again, until they settle on something that works. Some call it a “dark art,” just because researchers find it difficult to explain why they make particular adjustments.
But with AutoML, Google is trying to automate this process. It is building algorithms that analyze the development of other algorithms, learning which methods are successful and which are not. Eventually, they learn to build more effective machine learning. Google said AutoML could now build algorithms that, in some cases, identified objects in photos more accurately than services built solely by human experts.
This is not always an easy thing to wrap your head around. But it is part of a significant trend in A.I. research. Experts call it “learning to learn” or “meta-learning.”...“Computers are going to invent the algorithms for us, essentially,” said a Berkeley professor, Pieter Abbeel. “Algorithms invented by computers can solve many, many problems very quickly — at least that is the hope.”