Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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Does Social Ability Distinguish Human Intelligence from That of Apes?

Not altogether, of course, but it plays a bigger role than we sometimes assume

In Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny, professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Michael Tomasello tries to understand, from his two decades of research, what makes humans unique. He says that it is not intelligence as such but social intelligence, our “ultra social ability”: One of our most important studies was a huge study we did with over 100 human children and over 100 chimpanzees. We gave them a big battery of tests – a big IQ test if you will. It covered understanding of space, causality, quantities, as well as social learning, communication, reading the intentions of others. We found that 2-year-old children – before they can read or do anything mathematical – look just like the apes on physical Read More ›

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Children are watching much less TV

But what we learned from children’s TV is coming back to haunt us
Maxwell King: Sesame Street's pacing "was set to be as fast as the times, with some emulation of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and the television serial Batman." Read More ›
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Will AI triumph?

Will that phone end up smarter than your kid?
If so, it might not happen in quite the way we are told to fear. U.S. kids spend more than two hours a day looking at screens "perform worse on memory, language and thinking tests than kids who spend less time in front of a device. Read More ›
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Do children trust robots too much?

Maybe, but more study is needed, say researchers
Children could easily give in to peer pressure from other children to give an incorrect answer in place of a correct one. How much difference it makes that the pressure is supplied by a robot would surely depend on how the child is taught to see robots. Read More ›