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AI 'Breakthrough': Neural Net Has Human-Like Ability to Generalize Language

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The researchers trained a neural network to learn from its mistakes.

A version of the human ability to apply new vocabulary in flexible ways has been achieved by a neural network.

Credit: marrio31/Getty

Scientists have created a neural network with the human-like ability to make generalizations about language1. The artificial intelligence (AI) system performs about as well as humans at folding newly learned words into an existing vocabulary and using them in fresh contexts, which is a key aspect of human cognition known as systematic generalization.

The researchers gave the same task to the AI model that underlies the chatbot ChatGPT, and found that it performs much worse on such a test than either the new neural net or people, despite the chatbot's uncanny ability to converse in a human-like manner.

The work, published on 25 October in Nature, could lead to machines that interact with people more naturally than do even the best AI systems today. Although systems based on large language models, such as ChatGPT, are adept at conversation in many contexts, they display glaring gaps and inconsistencies in others.

From Nature
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