«Researchers show that an iron bar is capable of decision-making»
almost 3 years ago
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«Here's an example of how the idea works: Say there are two slot machines A and B with different winning probabilities, and the goal is to decide which machine offers the better winning probability, and to do so as quickly as possible based on past experiences. The researchers explain that an ordinary iron bar can make this decision. Every time the outcome of a play of machine A ends in a reward, the bar moves to the left a specific distance, and every time the outcome ends in no reward, the bar moves to the right a specific distance. The same goes for a play of machine B, but the directions of the bar movements are reversed. After enough trials, the bar's total displacement reveals which slot machine offers the better winning probability.»
The bizarreness comes mainly from using questionably fancy words for describing simple things. The iron bar is "making decisions" here about as much as the needle of an analog bimetallic coil thermometer is "making decisions" about how warm the weather is. But, in general, yes, analog computing can be quite fun and efficient for some very specific problems.
The bizzarreness is mostly in the choice of words in concepts, I agree.
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