AI researchers allege that machine learning is alchemy

May 23, 2018

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“Speaking at an AI conference, Rahimi charged that machine learning algorithms, in which computers learn through trial and error, have become a form of "alchemy." Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t, nor do they have rigorous criteria for choosing one AI architecture over another.

The issue is distinct from AI’s reproducibility problem, in which researchers can’t replicate each other’s results because of inconsistent experimental and publication practices. It also differs from the "black box" or "interpretability" problem in machine learning: the difficulty of explaining how a particular AI has come to its conclusions.
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http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/ai-researchers-allege-machine-learning-alchemy

alchemy, reproducibility, interpretability