What is Deep Learning?

dlIn recent years the concept of deep learning has been gaining widespread attention. The media frequently reports on talent acquisitions in this field, such as those by Google and Facebook, and startups which claim to employ deep learning are met with enthusiasm. Gratuitous comparisons with the human brain are frequent. But is this just a trendy buzz word? What exactly is deep learning and how is it relevant to developments in machine intelligence?

For many researchers, deep learning is simply a continuation of the multi-decade advancement in our ability to make use of large scale neural networks. Let’s first take a quick tour of the problems that neural networks and related technologies are trying to solve, and later we will examine the deep learning architectures in greater detail.

Machine learning generally breaks down into two application areas which are closely related: classification and regression. Continue reading

Simulating the Brain

Human BrainCan we scan, store and simulate the human brain, and with it bring to life all our memories, experiences, emotions, and personality? This is a big philosophical question, but here I assume for the moment that this is a problem with only technical challenges, and not ones that relate to mystical aspects of being.

The human brain contains around 75 billion neurons. If each one has at most 100,000 inputs, then we could store information about the sources of all Continue reading