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Date: 2018-07-24

The company, DARPA, is pushing an AI project to explain its decisions, but the truth is that AI as we know it is still quite dumb.

Companies like to flaunt their use of artificial intelligence to the point where it's virtually meaningless. While it can generate useful results, it still cannot explain why it produced those results in meaningful terms or adapt to ever-evolving situations.

DARPA thinks it can move AI forward, and the company is launching an Artificial Intelligence Exploration program that will invest in new AI concepts, including the "third wave" AI with contextual adaption and an ability to explain its decisions in ways that make sense. If it identified a cat, for example, it could explain that it detected the cat's fur, paws and whiskers in a familiar cat shape.

Importantly DARPA hopes that they will step up the pace. It's promising "streamlined" processes that will lead to projects starting three months after a funding opportunity shows up, with feasibility becoming clear about 18 months after a team wins its contract. You might not have to wait several years or more to witness an AI breakthrough.

It is entirely possible that companies will develop third wave AI as quickly on their own terms. This program could light a fire under those companies, and if nothing else, it suggests that AI pioneers are ready to move beyond today's 'basic' machine learning and closer to AI that actually thinks instead of merely churning out data.

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