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CSAIL, artificial intelligence


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Unlocking The Key To Human Intelligence

What if machines could think like us - comprehending social cues, visual prompts and spoken words just like a human would? For CSAIL Professor Patrick Winston, the Ford Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science and leader of the Genesis Group at CSAIL, uncovering the true nature of human intelligence is the next grand challenge.

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To solve the puzzle of how humans think, Winston is employing classic engineering methodology to build systems that think and comprehend as people do using computational methods.

Winston and his students focus on creating systems that use previously acquired commonsense knowledge and knowledge of plot patterns when tasked with story-understanding problems, just like humans do. During this long-term project many systems, with increasing levels of human-like intelligence, have been developed. The most recent incarnation, dubbed Genesis, embraces not only story understanding, but also perception-based question answering to shed light on human behavior.

A central component to the success of the Genesis system is a story understanding program Winston and his students have developed that tries to understand everything from familiar play plots to descriptions of the alleged Russian cyber attack on Estonia in 2007.

"We have problems in the world that look like they'll be with us indefinitely and if we can imagine that intelligent systems will be one means to keep us out of trouble, then it makes sense to start on it now because if we don't start on it we'll never get it," said Winston. "Of course the real reason we do all of this is because we humans are curious types and we want to understand how everything works, especially ourselves."



Patrick Winston (Massachusetts Institute of Technology CSAIL)

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