Babies versus bots
Plus, a surprising ripple effect of increased immigration
“The answer to the question, ‘what is your purpose?’ is not something you can crowdsource. It's an internal quest.” – Psychologist Anthony Burrow
Baby steps. Contrary to what the latest news headlines would suggest, AI can’t do everything human beings can – at least, not yet. In a new study, researchers found that 11-month-old babies beat AI when it came to “commonsense psychology.” Specifically, the babies seemed to be better at understanding drivers of human behavior. The researchers built and trained AI tools to recognize patterns and simulate human intelligence, then had both the AI and the infants watch a video of animated shapes that were designed to mimic human behavior. When those shapes didn’t respond in expected ways, the babies seemed to recognize the discrepancy. In other words, they were surprised and curious. The AI? Not so much. As one of the study authors said in a press release, “If AI aims to build flexible, commonsense thinkers like human adults become, then machines should draw upon the same core abilities infants possess.” To the bots’ credit, they probably do a better job of sleeping through the night.
Golden door. Immigration is a contentious topic in the United States. But a new paper finds evidence of one clear advantage of a welcoming policy toward immigrants. Researchers were curious about how immigration trends might affect certain sectors – specifically, they looked at nursing homes, which they said are served heavily by immigrants yet also face labor shortages. Analyzing a variety of different datasets, the paper concluded that “increased immigration significantly raises the staffing levels of nursing homes in the U.S.” What’s more, this trend is associated with a positive effect on patient outcomes. They concluded by saying the data suggests “immigration improves both the supply and the quality of the nursing home workforce.”
Happy dance. Hard work and persistence are key to achieving our goals. But is that true when it comes to the pursuit of happiness? Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
Feb 21: Having a sense of purpose can be a buffer against the challenges we all face at various stages of life. Purpose can also boost our health and longevity. Cornell University psychologist Anthony Burrow explains why purpose isn’t something to be found — it’s something we can develop from within.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Feb 22: After a tropical storm in Houston destroyed all of young Sarah Feldman's books, a librarian from across the country sent her a beautiful book – and unforgettable inscription – to rebuild her collection.
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What common English verb becomes its own past tense by rearranging its letters?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
Stephen was looking at a photo. Someone asked him, "Whose picture are you looking at?" He replied: "I don't have any brother or sister, but this man's father is my father's son." So, whose picture was Stephen looking at?
The answer: The man in the photo is Stephen's son.
FROM THE TWITTERATI…
A MOMENT OF JOY
AI might have some work to do when it comes to “commonsense psychology,” but it’s great at getting us out of meetings.
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