Tom Griffiths: Why People Have Surprisingly Intelligent Intuitions, and What AI Researchers Can Learn from That

Figuring out what makes people able to effectively and efficiently reason can tell us more about intelligence: An interview with UC Berkeley Professor Tom Griffiths.

Tom Griffiths is a professor of psychology and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. He studies human cognition by trying to understand the systems we use to help us navigate the complex, algorithmic space of day-to-day life, and then analyzes the difference between the actions humans take and the algorithmically optimal ones to understand our cognition.

Key Takeaways

  • AI will be able to exceed human capabilities in certain areas by being able to consider far more information when making a decision.

  • Now is the right time for AI people and developmental psychologists to begin getting together and exchanging information, as tools like reinforcement learning and convolutional neural networks have become advanced enough that they can benefit from insights governed by these approaches.

  • Some of the most impressive aspects of human cognition concern how we’re able to use biases to help us learn.

Jack: What does our understanding of how humans make decisions suggest about how to build better AI/ML systems?

Tom: I think it’s tempting to look at human decision-making and say, “people make errors, people are biased, let’s not build our AI systems like that!” I take kind of the opposite ...

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