Photo by: Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education

AI parroted its way to high school. We’re sending it back to first grade.

By David Ferrucci — AI scientist and entrepreneur. Founder and CEO of Elemental Cognition.

Mastering Wikipedia? Not so fast

Consider the following passage condensed from Wikipedia:

Back to first grade

You might be tempted to defend BERT on the grounds that, like a confused six-year-old taking an eighth-grade science test, it just finds the Woolley/MacNeil passage too complex. The passage involves employment, minting, even legislative procedure. Maybe BERT would do better on a simple first-grade story about a different sort of mint:

Are we on the road to machines that understand, or to super-parrots?

BERT, Aristo, GPT-2, XLNet…all these models are made of the same stuff. They’re phenomenal at learning the form of language, and when the task is heavily constrained, that can be enough to game the current AI metrics for reading comprehension.

Building AI systems that can read, understand, reason, and explain the ‘why’ behind their answers.

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