Showing posts with the label computer science

Is there evidence that recommender systems are changing users' preferences?

In Human Compatible , Stuart Russell makes an argument that I have heard him make repeatedly (I believe on the 80,000 Hours podcast and the Future of Life Institute conversation with Steven Pinker). He suggests a pretty bold and surprising claim: [C]onsider how content-selection algorithms function on social media... Typically, such algorithms are designed to maximize click-through , that is, the probability that the user clicks on presented items. The solution is simply to present items that the user likes to click on, right? Wrong. The solution is to change the user's preferences so that they become more predictable. A more predictable user can be fed items that they are likely to click on, thereby generating more revenue. People with more extreme political views tend to be more predictable in which items they will click on... Like any rational entity, the algorithm learns how to modify the state of its environment—in this case, the user's mind—in order to maximize its own r

Is a Computer Neuron the Same as a Brain Neuron?

When I took a philosophy of mind class in high school, my professor proposed neural networks in computer science as a potential way to create consciousness. At the very least, it's a way to create high levels of intelligence. I didn't know exactly what a computerized neural network consisted of (I imagined it being built in hardware), and I still don't, really, but I'm curious: how similar is an artificial neural network to a biological one? Is it really a good replication? From an article on the similarities and differences :  An [Artificial Neural Network] consists of layers made up of interconnected neurons that receive a set of inputs and a set of weights. It then does some mathematical manipulation and outputs the results as a set of “activations” that are similar to synapses in biological neurons. While ANNs typically consist of hundreds to maybe thousands of neurons, the biological neural network of the human brain consists of billions. On the other han