Explained: Neural Networks

In the past 10 years, the best-performing artificial-intelligence systems – such as the speech recognizers on smartphones or Google’s latest automatic translator – have resulted from a technique called “deep learning.” Deep learning is in fact a new name for an approach to artificial intelligence called neural networks, which have been going in and out of fashion for more than 70 years. Neural networks were first proposed in 1944 by Warren McCullough and Walter Pitts, two University of Chicago researchers who moved to MIT in 1952 as founding members of what’s sometimes called the first cognitive science department.

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