It is another week, and yet another big company has profoundly misunderstood AI. Today Facebook. IBM has been around a long time and was always actively hostile to AI so it is understandable that they would know nothing about AI. Facebook, founded by a guy who went to Harvard where AI was never taken seriously as a subject is another case of "let’s just make up stuff about AI and assume we are making sense." Today's announcement:
I guess what they are saying is that children learn about the world by reading children's stories so their program will learn that way as well.
To see that this is simply stupid, let’s consider three well known children's stories: Goldilocks, Rumplestilskin, and Little Red Riding Hood.
I just chose these at random. I remember them, and to be honest, never really understood what they were about. But surely Facebook’s AI will understand them better than I ever did. Many people have written about these stories and tried to explain them. Here are three answers I found on the web about the moral of Goldilocks:
What is the moral of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"?
How about Rumplestilskin? I found a site that listed ten lessons. Here are three:
What about Little Red Riding Hood? Here are there I found:
What could Facebook be thinking here? We read stories to our children for many reasons. These are read because they have been around a long time, which is not a great reason. The reason to read frightening stories to children has never ben clear to me. The only value I saw in doing this sort of thing as a parent was to begin a discussion with the child about the story which might lead somewhere interesting. Now my particular children had been living in the real world at the time so they had some way to relate to the story because of their own fears, or because of experiences they might have had.
Facebook’s AI will be able to relate to these stories by matching words it has seen before. Oh good. It will not learn anything from the stories because it cannot learn anything from any story. Learning from stories means mapping your experiences (your own stories) to the new story and finding some commonalities and some differences. It also entails discussing those commonalties and differences with someone who is willing to have that conversation with you. In order to do that you have to be able to construct sentences on your own and be able to interpret your own experiences through conversations with your friends and family.
Facebook’s "AI" will not be doing this because it can’t. It has had no experiences. Apparently its experience is loading lots of text and counting patterns. Too bad there isn’t a children’s story about that.
Facebook hasn’t a clue about AI, but it will continue to spend money and accomplish nothing until AI is declared to have failed again.
Welcome to the future of learning - the way it was always meant to be.