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AI Beats Humans In Reading Comprehension, Another Win For The Machines

Reading.Sam Greenhalgh/Flickr

As if it’s really a surprise anymore, yet another artificial intelligence has proven that it is better than humans at something. This time, it has to do with a reading comprehension test, where the machine was pitted against human counterparts and won. Chinese giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. was behind this development while the test used was designed by Stanford University.

It’s worth noting that this is actually the first time that a machine beat a human in reading comprehension, mostly because robots have been a little stupid in this area for a long time. Thanks to advances in machine learning, however, Alibaba’s AI scored 82.44 on the Stanford Question Answering Dataset. In comparison, humans scored 82.304, Bloomberg reports.

Now, while the difference between those two scores almost seems minuscule, it really isn’t the gap that’s noteworthy in this aspect. It’s the fact that the AI was able to score that high, at all. It wasn’t the only machine to beat humans either since just a day after Alibaba posted its results, Microsoft did the same, reporting that its own AI scored 82.650.

As to what Alibaba intends to do with its AI, the company is basically developing a deep neural network to improve things like social networks and autonomous driving. This really isn’t a mystery since every tech company is now invested in one or both of those fields in some capacity.

As Futurism notes, one of the biggest advantages to machines with advanced comprehension abilities is basically freeing up humans from doing menial jobs. This includes having to answer questions from users or providing search results that more accurately apply to the context of the question.

This development could also have huge implications for autonomous driving. While today’s driverless cars can recognize terrain, weather, and even road signs, a lot of driving is dependent on context. By developing AI that can have a better understanding of nuances, driverless cars can become even safer than they are now.

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