Funding Supports 'Brains, Machines and Children' Research at IU

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Linda Smith will lead the research. Linda Smith will lead the research.

A research team at Indiana University will use up to $3 million from the school to study whether machines can think like children. The Bloomington campus's inaugural Emerging Areas of Research funds will support the four-year project.

Linda Smith is Chancellor’s Professor of psychological and brain sciences in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences and will be leading the initiative. Her team will include cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and computer scientists. The Emerging Areas of Research program is part of IU's Bicentennial Strategic plan, which is geared toward "research innovation and excellence on campus."

The team will target what is described as a "comprehensive and unified theory of learning rooted in research" about the ways children and infants learn to classify the world around them, including faces, objects, letters and numbers. Smith says there is a "fundamental misunderstanding" currently that child learning and artificial intelligence have nothing to so with each other. She says "from its beginnings, computer science has always had overlapping questions with cognitive psychology and neuroscience. There's an emerging consensus that big breakthroughs will emerge through reunifying these sciences. Right now, we are at a tipping point for really big advances that will have major impacts on all aspects of human life."

You can connect to more about "Learning: Brains, Machines and Children" by clicking here.

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