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Deep Learning: Einstein Or Savant?

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Artificial intelligence is one of the hottest topics in analytics today. Currently, the most popular member of the AI family, deep learning is solving some very difficult problems very well. Best known for image recognition, it is now being applied to a wide range of other problems.

Given the success of the approach, it is easy to forgive people for thinking that deep learning is incredibly intelligent. However, once you dig into deep learning, you’ll find that as opposed to being a generally brilliant algorithm akin to Albert Einstein, it is much more akin to a savant like the famous movie character from Rain Man. In other words, a deep learning process is really smart at a specific task or two, but not smart at all for anything else.

General Versus Specific Intelligence

First, let me define what I mean by general intelligence (i.e. Einstein) and specific intelligence (i.e Rain Man). Einstein was a brilliant man who was able to solve a wide range of problems. More importantly, he was also able to identify entirely new problems to solve and entirely new ways to solve those new problems. That’s really smart! His gift was the ability to guide himself through problem formulation and …

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