Computational rationality: A converging paradigm for intelligence in brains, minds, and machines

Samuel J. Gershman, Eric J. Horvitz, Joshua B. Tenenbaum

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Abstract: After growing up together, and mostly growing apart in the second half of the 20th century, the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive science, and neuroscience are reconverging on a shared view of the computational foundations of intelligence that promotes valuable cross-disciplinary exchanges on questions, methods, and results. We chart advances over the past several decades that address challenges of perception and action under uncertainty through the lens of computation. Advances include the development of representations and inferential procedures for large-scale probabilistic inference and machinery for enabling reflection and decisions about tradeoffs in effort, precision, and timeliness of computations. These tools are deployed toward the goal of computational rationality: identifying decisions with highest expected utility, while taking into consideration the costs of computation in complex real-world problems in which most relevant calculations can only be approximated. We highlight key concepts with examples that show the potential for interchange between computer science, cognitive science, and neuroscience.

Science 17 July 2015:
Vol. 349 no. 6245 pp. 273-278
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac6076 

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