Morning 03: What is Understanding? In AI and Biology
Understanding something, in one way or another, is associated with the ability to support intelligent behaviour. Either when giving the right answer in an exam, solving a riddle, or avoiding an obstacle, understanding correlates with the ability to use abstract concepts to make accurate predictions. For a long time, humans naively believed that this is an exclusive skill to our species; however, overwhelming evidence shows that we share it with a broad diversity of species on earth. Even more, it seems that we are starting to share this ability with machines. In the last decade, approaches based on artificial intelligence have shown, among many other things, the ability to exceed human accuracy in predicting personality judgments. Machines, so it seems, are on course to outperform us. But is this an accurate prediction? Is understanding, in biology, the same thing as predicting, in silico?
This seminar explores artificial algorithmic approaches and neurobiological mechanisms underlying the process and emotions of understanding something; as well as the socio-political opportunities and challenges emerging from their coexistence.