The Current

Deep Learning Godfather says machines learn like toddlers

Back in the 70s, Geoffrey Hinton's scientific obsession made him a bit of an outlier. He was trying to get computers to work the way our brains do. These days he is changing the way we think. The Godfather of deep learning shares his ideas.
He's a former University of Toronto researcher whose work was snapped up by Google. Geoffrey Hinton is trying to create machines that can learn on their own... just like human beings. ((Courtesy of NSERC))

"Anything you can do, neural networks will also eventually be able to do. All industries will be affected by it." - Geoffrey Hinton. 

Siri on your iPhone will attest, Geoffrey Hinton is known in Artificial Intelligence circles as the "godfather of deep learning." And as we get into what deep learning really means, just keep in mind that Siri herself —- or itself? — is something of an example of Deep Learning at work.

It's a field of machine learning inspired by the workings of the human brain .... like the way a toddler learns about the world.

Geoffrey Hinton was a researcher at the University of Toronto until a couple years ago, when his work attracted the notice of Google. They bought his company, DNN Research, for an undisclosed sum, and now he and a couple of his grad students are hard at work at a project dubbed "Google Brain." They're using software Hinton refers to as Neural Networks. And their goal is to design a machine that learns in the same way as a human being.

Geoffrey Hinton joined us to discuss a phenomenon known as "deep learning" as part of our Project, By Design. He was in our Toronto studio. 

What do you think of this? Is this an exciting area of research or an alarming future where machines take over the world?

Tweet us your thoughts to @thecurrentcbc, find us on Facebook or send us an email through the website.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sonya Buyting.