AI researchers allege that machine learning is alchemy

Ali Rahimi, a researcher in artificial intelligence (AI) at Google in San Francisco, California, took a swipe at his field last December—and received a 40-second ovation for it. Speaking at an AI conference, Rahimi charged that machine learning algorithms, in which computers learn through trial and error, have become a form of “alchemy.” Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t, nor do they have rigorous criteria for choosing one AI architecture over another

Matthew Hutson

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