'Teaching Machines to Understand Us' BY Tom Simonite in MIT Technology Review

"Facebook and other companies, including Google, IBM, and Microsoft, have moved quickly to get into this area in the past few years because deep learning is far better than previous AI techniques at getting computers to pick up skills that challenge machines, like understanding photos. Those more established techniques require human experts to laboriously program certain abilities, such as how to detect lines and corners in images. Deep-learning software figures out how to make sense of data for itself, without any such programming. Some systems can now recognize images or faces about as accurately as humans.

Now LeCun is aiming for something much more powerful. He wants to deliver software with the language skills and common sense needed for basic conversation. Instead of having to communicate with machines by clicking buttons or entering carefully chosen search terms, we could just tell them what we want as if we were talking to another person. “Our relationship with the digital world will completely change due to intelligent agents you can interact with,” he predicts. He thinks deep learning can produce software that understands our sentences and can respond with appropriate answers, clarifying questions, or suggestions of its own."

Read the full article here.