It seems as though computers are finally smarter than humans. While in the past, computers have not ever been good at answering questions that involve verbal reasoning, that's about to change.
A new deep learning machine has been unveiled in China that is able to outperform the average human when it comes to verbal reasoning, a first in human history.
"Huazheng and pals have another trick up their sleeve to make it easier for a computer to answer verbal reasoning questions. This comes about because these questions fall into several categories that require slightly different approaches to solve," said the MIT Technology Review in a report.
"So their idea is to start by identifying the category of each question so that the computer then knows which answering strategy it should employ. This is straightforward since the questions in each category have similar structures," the report continued.
Not only is the machine able to answer verbal reasoning questions, but it is also able to learn about them as it goes, meaning that it can continue getting smarter.
As far as human performance goes, those with high school degrees tend to do least well on IQ tests; those with Bachelor's degrees do better; and those with Doctorate degrees do even better. The machine is reportedly able to perform in between the level of a Bachelor's degree and a Doctorate.
To compare results, researchers gave the same test to 200 people through the Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, also asking for basic information such as age and level of education.
Researchers are also very optimistic about the future of deep learning techniques given recent breakthroughs.
"To our surprise, the average performance of human beings is a little lower than that of our proposed method," said Huazheng Wang from the University of Science and Technology of China and Bin Gao. "Our model can reach the intelligence level between the people with [Bachelor's] degrees and those with [Master's] degrees ... With appropriate uses of the deep learning technologies, we could be a further step closer to the true human intelligence."
Deep learning and research associated with it are becoming topics of serious interest when it comes to computer science of late, and there's no telling where we will be with it in a decade's time.
Of course, there is some concern over this and artificial intelligence in general, largely because of sci-fi movies in which computers attempt to take over the world. For now, however, humans remain firmly in control of machines.