Leslie Valiant will be giving the inaugural talk of the Ding Shum Lectures on Tuesday, October 10 at 5:00 pm in Science Center Hall D, Cambridge, MA.
Learning as a Theory of Everything
Abstract: We start from the hypothesis that all the information that resides in living organisms was initially acquired either through learning by an individual or through evolution. Then any unified theory of evolution and learning should be able to characterize the capabilities that humans and other living organisms can possess or acquire. Characterizing these capabilities would tell us about the nature of humans, and would also inform us about feasible targets for automation. With this purpose we review some background in the mathematical theory of learning. We go on to explain how Darwinian evolution can be formulated as a form of learning. We observe that our current mathematical understanding of learning is incomplete in certain important directions, and conclude by indicating one direction in which further progress would likely enable broader phenomena of intelligence and cognition to be realized than is possible at present.