Rise of the machines?

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One of the most important recent developments in artificial intelligence is machine learning. By looking for patterns in large amounts of data, algorithms learn to perform tasks that used to be exclusively reserved for humans — from recognising speech to making medical diagnoses. In this series of articles Chris Budd looks at machine learning, its history, and some of the moral questions it raises.

These articles are based on a talk in Budd's ongoing Gresham College lecture series. You can see a video of the talk below.

What is a robot? — Nearly a century after the word "robot" was coined, robots do exist and perform important tasks. But are they intelligent?

Robots to play games with — Computers were one of the first step towards developing a form of AI. Here's a brief history, from Turing's early ideas to Google's AlphaZero.

What is machine learning? — Find out how a little bit of maths can enable a machine to learn from experience by creating the ultimate black box.

Machine learning: Is it ethical? — Should machines be allowed to make decisions that heavily impact people's lives?

Will machine learning replace mathematicians? — Will sophisticated algorithms lead to robots that can do mathematics?

You can also listen to Chris talk about machine learning in an episode of our podcast series

Machine learning and artificial intelligence — In this podcast find out the basics of machine learning, and why time travel and immortality might be easier to achieve than human level artificial intelligence.

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The following article, originally published on the FQXi community website, explores fututre directions of machine learning.

Think quantum to build better AI — Researchers are exploring if quantum mechanics could make machine learning more powerful and shed light on evolution.

About the author

Chris Budd OBE is Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bath, Vice President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, Chair of Mathematics for the Royal Institution and an honorary fellow of the British Science Association. He is particularly interested in applying mathematics to the real world and promoting the public understanding of mathematics.

He has co-written the popular mathematics book Mathematics Galore!, published by Oxford University Press, with C. Sangwin, and features in the book 50 Visions of Mathematics ed. Sam Parc.