In Focus

‘Godfather of AI’ explains why today’s artificial intelligence ‘sucks’ – and why Elon Musk is wrong

Meta’s chief AI scientist says the current state of the art in artificial intelligence could be beaten by a not particularly smart animal. Getting to our sci-fi future could mean a complete change of direction, writes Andrew Griffin

Sunday 14 April 2024 06:08 BST
Is AI not as smart as we think it is
Is AI not as smart as we think it is (AFP via Getty Images)

Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist, is one of the three men sometimes called the godfather of artificial intelligence. But this week, he was not being especially kind about his godchild.

Machine learning sucks!” he wrote in a presentation given as part of a Meta AI event this week, referring to the technique that underpins most of what we call AI today. “I’m never happy with the state of the art,” he said; “in fact, machine learning really sucks.

“It’s wonderful. It’s brought about a lot of really interesting technologies. But really when we compare the abilities of our machines to what animals and humans can do, they don’t stack up.” Animals are able to learn quickly, find out what works and acquire human sense in a way that AI could only dream of, he said – “and I’m not talking about particularly smart animals”.

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