Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryEducation

Snooping Dmitry Ratushny Unsplash 1455368109333-ebc686ad6c58

Machine Learning, Part 3: Don’t Snoop on Your Data

You risk using a feature for prediction that is common to the dataset, but not to the problem you are studying

As long as we can establish that our theories, hypotheses, and/or models are independent of the data, then we can trust that their predictive power will generalize beyond the data we have observed.

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child girl playing with counter toy at nursery

Babies Have a Number Sense Before They Can Count

The study showed that counting with babies makes a difference, even though their understanding is not very exact

The question was not whether the infants understood the exact numbers (they didn’t) but whether they understood that the researchers were, in fact, counting things.

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jockey

Machine Learning, Part 2: Supervised Learning

Machine learning isn’t hard to understand; it’s just different. Let’s start with the most common type

The neat thing about machine learning is that the algorithm can extract general principles from the dataset that can then be applied to new problems. It is like the story that Newton observed an apple fall and then derived from it the general law of gravity that applies to the entire universe.

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Infinity sign black and white texture

Yes, You Can Manipulate Infinity—in Math

The hyperreals are bigger (and smaller) than your average number — and better!

Hyperreal numbers are a new type of number that was developed to simplify and rethink the way that we deal with very large and very small numbers.

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Students sitting a test in an exam hall in college

The Challenge of Teaching Machines to Generalize

Teaching students simply to pass tests provides a good illustration of the problems

We want the machine learning algorithms to learn general principles from the data, and not merely little tricks and trivia that that score high but ignore problems.

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Architectural curves

Don’t Leave Home Without These Three Curves

Three mathematical curves explain a lot of what happens—and doesn’t happen—in everyday life

One of the problems with modern secondary mathematics education is that it teaches lots of details about how to solve problems but provides very little insight into how to understand problems. You may have learned to solve a quadratic equation but you may not have learned what life situations generate a quadratic equation.

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Canadian Province to Ban Cell Phones from Classrooms

Education experts are cautiously hopeful about reducing distraction and cyberbullying
France and a number of jurisdictions in Britain, as well as some American ones, have already instituted such bans and several studies have identified subsequent improvements in schoolwork. Read More ›
Stack of books with laptop

Has Aristo broken bounds for thinking computers?

The Grade 8 graduate improves on Watson but we must still think for ourselves at school. Here’s why
Aristo combines questions and answers on a multiple-choice test to decide on the best answer without understanding any of the information. Read More ›
Joyful preteen lady beaming while embracing human like root

Tell Kids the Robot Is “It,” Not “He”

Teaching children to understand AI and robotics is part of a good education today

We are not truly likely to be ruled by AI overlords (as opposed to powerful people using AI. But even doubtful predictions may be self-fulfilling if enough impressionable people come to believe them. Children, for example. We adults are aware of the limitations of AI. But if we talk about AI devices as if they were people, children—who often imbue even stuffed toys with complex personalities—may be easily confused. Sue Shellenbarger, Work & Family columnist at The Wall Street Journal, warns that already, “Many children think robots are smarter than humans or imbue them with magical powers.” While she admits that the “long-term consequences” are still unclear, “an expanding body of research” suggests we need to train children to draw Read More ›

Classmates using their smartphones heavily during classes

The Prof Banned Phones in Class. What Happened?

Not a walkout. No riots. No revolution. Some insights though, that match up with other research
Essentially, the user keeps the phone but must leave the venue to unlock it. Barring a reasonable excuse, that might be like excusing oneself to go outside to smoke. Read More ›
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Mathematics Gives Us Life Skills and Mental Tools

Unfortunately, some professors, like the one who attacked my recent article, seem to prefer pedantry
What makes you an expert today is not your clarity of thought but rather your ability to conform your thoughts entirely to the constraints of your profession’s vocabulary. Read More ›
Girl pushing big stone hard, impossible and useless concept

Doing the Impossible: A Step-by-Step Guide

Often, in life as in calculus, when our implicit assumptions as to why something can’t be done are made explicit, they can be disproven
Calculus textbooks are the most dry and boring presentations of mathematics I have ever seen, even though calculus offers some of the most amazing insights. Unfortunately, most mathematics texts teach only the mathematics, never the insights. Read More ›
gud

Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene: How to Spell Gud

Also, Google and Apple ditching college degree requirements is not really that new

Twenty years or so ago, when I worked in Seattle, Microsoft was famous for the testing coding skills of their applicants and asking Mensa-like questions. Degrees were secondary.

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New Hacking Tactics

Many Parents Ignore Risks of Posting Kids’ Data Online

The lifelong digital footprint, which starts before birth, makes identity theft much easier
The recently discovered “design flaw” in Facebook’s Messenger app, aimed at kids, was a wake-up call. Keeping a child’s data out of the wrong hands is just part of good parenting today. Read More ›
Balancing A Male And A Female Worker In The Cloud

Why It’s So Hard To Reform Peer Review

Robert J. Marks: Reformers are battling numerical laws that govern how incentives work. Know your enemy!

Measurement creates a temptation to achieve a measurable goal by less than totally honest means. As in physics, the simple act of measuring invariably disturbs what you are trying to measure.

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Female with Now What Sign

Students, Don’t Let Smart Machines Disrupt Your Future

Three ways you can avoid life in Mom’s basement and the job pouring coffee

At first sight, the number of options might seem bewildering. The key question is: Will you ignore the coming job disruption, fear it, or treat it as an opportunity?

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The Smartest Phone Is Silent in Class

While academics debate smartphones’ effect on teens, some hard facts begin to emerge
What if we focus on something more easily measurable than emotional well-being?: grades. There seems to be a growing consensus that students get better grades when separated from smartphones in learning environments. Read More ›
Abstract Visualisation of data and technology in graph form. 3D Illustration
Abstract Visualization of data and technology in graph form. 3D Illustration

Machine Learning Tip: Set Boundaries for the Problems

We cannot take a giant pile of unorganized data, shove it into a machine, and expect useful results

Humans intrinsically understand causation and, therefore know which pieces of data likely have some correlation. Therefore, when we select data for computers to analyze, we are drastically reducing the size of the problem for computers.

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Man's Hand Holding Mobile Phone Showing Electric Meter Reading
Close-up Of A Man's Hand Holding Mobile Phone Showing Electric Meter Reading And Holding Flashlight

Scientific American: No Consensus on Smartphones’ Effect on Teen Brains

Others continue to wonder why teens seem comparatively fragile
The editor's view is that "change is unceasing, and different does not necessarily mean worse – despite the fears of the “cluck-cluckers." We recommend several other sources for alternative context and background. Read More ›
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Quell the Cell and Kids Do Well?

That sounds simplistic but it worked at a girls’ school in New Zealand

High goals, discipline and, perhaps most critically, a ban on cellphones, have seen St Joseph’s Maori Girls College reach the top 10 for University Entrance in this year’s high-school league tables, the NZ Herald reports.

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