Com­put­ers binge on TV to solve prob­lems

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Kate Foster Scot­tish Health Ed­i­tor

IT is a hit US tele­vi­sion show in which foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors solve cases by scour­ing the crime scene.

Now com­put­ers are be­ing trained to solve prob­lems by binge­ing on episodes of CSI: Crime Scene In­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity re­searchers fed footage, di­a­logue and back­ground sounds from an episode of the show – used be­cause of its ad­her­ence to for­mu­laic plots – into a com­puter pro­grammed to process the plot as each episode un­folded.

The study was de­signed to es­tab­lish if and how com­put­ers can solve prob­lems that hu­mans find chal­leng­ing.

Hu­man par­tic­i­pants who watched 39 episodes iden­ti­fied who was re­spon­si­ble 85 per cent of the time, the study found.

The com­puter iden­ti­fied the per­pe­tra­tor 60 per cent of the time but did so much more quickly than hu­mans, the study pub­lished in sci­en­tific jour­nal Trans­ac­tions of the As­so­ci­a­tion for Com­pu­ta­tional Lin­guis­tics found.

Dr Lea Fr­ermann, of the univer­sity’s School of In­for­mat­ics, said: ‘We hope our find­ings will aid the de­vel­op­ment of ma­chines that can take on board – and make sense of – large streams of in­for­ma­tion in real time.’

Re­searchers hope the study will de­velop bet­ter ways to an­swer ques­tions posed on­line, such as help­ing in­ter­net search en­gines find bet­ter re­sults.

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