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Google eyes 'AI First' with new launch, but its no smarter than a first grader, says a study

Thursday October 5, 2017 4:40 PM, News Network

Google AI First

San Francisco:
Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai while launching the company's second generation devices Wednesday said the hardware design efforts revolve around AI - Artificial Intelligence, but a latest study says the technology is no smarter than a first grader.

A study published Saturday showed Google's artificial intelligence technology scored best out of 50 systems that Chinese researchers tested against an AI scale they created, CNBC reported Monday. With a IQ score of 47.28, Google's AI was almost twice as smart as Apple virtual assistant Siri, which scored 23.94.

To evaluate how smart an intelligent system is (or has become), its ability to "acquire, master, create and feedback knowledge" needs to be tested, wrote the researchers. In 2014, the IQ of 50 AI systems was rated.

The systems included Google's AI, Siri and Chinese search engine Baidu. Three humans, ages 18, 12 and 6, were also rated.

When the researchers tested the AI systems again in 2016, they found that Google was the smartest and improved the fastest (from an IQ of 26.5 to 47.28), but it wasn't enough to beat even a 6-year-old, who came in with a score of 55.5.

Dr Lin Hsuan-Tien, chief data scientist of Taiwan-based AI startup, Appier, agrees AI systems have yet to reach the intelligence of even a six-year-old, but possess extraordinary learning capabilities.

"Scientists believed AI was capable of lots of things but were disappointed by failures created out of unrealistic goals," Dr Lin tells CNET in an email.

"Many AI researchers instead started to focus on 'weak AI,' which [tackles] specific problems, such as image recognition or playing the game of Go. Weak AI has proven that its ability to learn surpasses the capabilities of most human beings and is able to achieve super-human performance levels."

At the launch of Google's Pixel 2 phone in San Francisco today, CEO Sundar Pichai acknowledged smartphone features were "levelling off" and said it was hard to develop exciting new products based on hardware alone.

Google said it is in a transition from a "mobile-first" company to an "AI-first" business.

The machine-learning part of artificial intelligence is one of Google's strengths.

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