By Will Knight
One cognitive scientist thinks the leading
approach to machine learning can be improved
by ideas gleaned from studying children.
Like any proud father, Gary Marcus is only too
happy to talk about the latest achievements of his
two-year-old son. More unusually, he believes that
the way his toddler learns and reasons may hold the
key to making machines much more intelligent.
Sitting in the boardroom of a bustling Manhattan startup incubator, Marcus, a 45-year-old professor of psychology at New York University and
the founder of a new company called Geometric
Intelligence, describes an example of his boy’s ingenuity. From the backseat of the car, his son had
seen a sign showing the number 11, and because he
knew that other double-digit numbers had names
like “thirty-three” and “seventy-seven,” he asked his
father if the number on the sign was “onety-one.” N I S