Inference elusive to computers

From the New York Times: “David Autor of M.I.T. argues that while computers have gotten better at rote tasks, they have progressed far less in applying common sense. Try to teach a computer how to tell that a picture of a chair is a chair, for example, and it will be befuddled. ‘Both a toilet and a traffic cone look somewhat like a chair,’ he writes, ‘but a bit of reasoning about their shapes vis-a-vis human anatomy suggests that a traffic cone is unlikely to make a comfortable seat. Drawing this inference, however, requires reasoning about what an object is “for,” not simply what it looks like,’ a skill computers generally still lack.”

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