Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:43 and 3:43 a.m.

Computer Savvy





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Have you ever leaned in for a kiss that wasn’t? Awkward!
 
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
 
We humans are generally good at predicting social cues. A handshake versus a hug, for example. How? By observing those around us and comparing to our previous experiences.
 
Researchers from M I T wondered: Can we teach computers to do the same thing? They created a program that uses deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to find out. Essentially, the program looks for common patterns in massive amounts of data.
 
They had the computers binge-watch years of TV programs, like “The Office” and “Desperate Housewives”. The computers then tried to predict whether characters would hug, handshake, high-five, or kiss. They got it right about 43 percent of the time. That’s pretty good – the human strike rate is only 71 percent!
 
Now, the team is working toward making the computers even more socially savvy than us! Maybe one day they can facilitate super-social robots or high tech security systems.
 
Or maybe they can predict exactly how awkward hugging your boss can be. Yikes!