Computers learn to mimic human brain

2012-06-27 13:26

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Francisco - Google on Tuesday said it was dabbling with getting computers to simulate the learning process of the human brain as one of the unusual projects for researchers in its X Lab.

Computers programmed with algorithms intended to mimic neural connections "learned" to recognise cats after being shown a sampling of YouTube videos, Google fellow Jeff Dean and visiting faculty Andrew Ng said in a blog post.

"Our hypothesis was that it would learn to recognise common objects in those videos," the researchers said.

"Indeed, to our amusement, one of our artificial neurons learned to respond strongly to pictures of... cats," they continued.

"Remember that this network had never been told what a cat was, nor was it given even a single image labelled as a cat."

The computer, essentially, discovered for itself what a cat looked like, according to Dean and Ng.

The computations were spread across an "artificial neural network" of 16 000 processors and a billion connections in Google data centres.

The small-scale "newborn brain" was shown YouTube images for a week to see what it would learn.

Larger model

"It 'discovered' what a cat looked like by itself from only unlabeled YouTube stills," the researchers said.

"That's what we mean by self-taught learning."

Google researchers are building a larger model and are working on ways to apply the artificial neural network approach to improve technology for speech recognition and natural language modelling, according to Dean and Ng.

"Someday this could make the tools you use every day work better, faster, and smarter," they said.

Dean and Ng conceded that there is a long road ahead, since an adult human brain has around 100 trillion connections.

Google X Lab headed by company co-founder Sergey Brin is known for its work on innovations such as a self-driving car and "Terminator" film style glasses that provide internet information about what is being seen.

Read more on:    google  |  internet  |  technology

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

When you combine environment, entrepreneurship and technology its pure genius. Meet the genius behind Eco-Fuel Africa, Sanga Moses.



China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us
Moving short film on ivory trade
10 Tips for Greener Shopping

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The pace may be slow today and you may struggle to get things off the ground level, but it is important to focus on the more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.