Babies vs AI — it’s no contest

Faced with a baby screaming the house down and throwing food on the floor, frazzled parents may be surprised to hear that their beloved offspring is probably the smartest learner in the known universe. But some computer scientists have long recognised that reality and are now trying to mimic babies’ extraordinary processing powers to develop artificial intelligence models. In some respects, our latest technological creations appear near-magical in their capabilities, but when it comes to autonomous learning, they are as dumb as a diaper. Can they be trained to learn as baby processing units do by exploring partial, messy, real-world data?

A team of researchers at New York University has been trying to do just that and this month published their findings in the journal Science. Their experiment drew data from a lightweight camera attached to the head of a baby in Adelaide called Sam, recording 61 hours of his life from the age of 6 to 25 months.