AI Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Comprehension Test (Learn How to Keep Your Edge) | Iris Reading
AI Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Comprehension Test

AI Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Comprehension Test (Learn How to Keep Your Edge)

AI Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Comprehension Test

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to a computer or computer-controlled ability to perform human-like tasks that typically require human intelligence. 

Although AIs have yet to carry out various tasks specific to human beings, some machines have been discovered to match humans in some tasks, such as reading comprehension. 

Microsoft and Alibaba have created computer models that, for the first time, have surpassed humans in reading comprehension. This complex human skill needs an understanding of what you are reading. Their AIs scored 82.6, beating humans who scored 82.3 in tests administered by Stanford University.

It was a historical milestone and a huge stepping stone for AI development. However, it comes with uneasiness regarding the possible implications of this AI development. Worries about machines possibly replacing humans in the workforce have surfaced. 

This article will discuss how AI comprehension works, their challenges and tests for comprehension, and the gap between human and AI comprehension. We will also give tips on improving your reading comprehension to keep your edge in any industry. 

Ready? Let’s start!

How do AI reading comprehension machines work?

Generally, Artificial Intelligence systems work through reading questions the user asks, comprehending them, and providing responses in a concise format.

But to further explain how it works, let’s look at the sub-domains of Artificial Intelligence to understand how it can perform reading comprehension.

Machine Learning 

Machine Learning is a powerful and valuable technique for reading and comprehending texts and their concepts. It teaches the machines to identify and analyze patterns and past data to make inferences and decisions without human experience. 

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a Machine Learning technique that guides machines in processing inputs and understanding the meaning of the texts. This way, the machine can classify and make inferences based on its understanding.

Neural Networks

Aside from Deep Learning, Neural Networks also plays an essential role in teaching machines to comprehend reading materials. It refers to the algorithms that grasp the relationship between concepts and process the data, which enables the machine to learn complex functions. 

An AI-powered machine has Long Short-Term Memory, a special neural network that can remember and forget information when needed. It takes in each word and generates meaning after seeing or hearing it. 

Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the ability of a computer or machine to understand human language, either text or spoken words, by combining computation linguistics with machine learning, deep learning, and statistical models. 

Once the machine understands, it responds accordingly to the user. 

Computer Vision

Computer vision is a series of algorithms that strive to understand an image by breaking it down and studying its parts. It allows the machine to classify, learn, and make inferences and decisions based on the set of images and past observations. 

Cognitive Computing

Cognitive computing is also a series of algorithms that mimic a human brain. It analyzes tests, objects, speed, and images the same way humans do. 

What are the challenges for AI systems when it comes to reading comprehension? 

Although it is a historic feat that Artificial Intelligence systems have surpassed the reading comprehension skills of humans, there are still challenges the AI faces, questioning if they are better than humans. 

One major challenge is the AI’s lack of understanding. Since human language is sometimes ambiguous, AI may have difficulty understanding it. 

Here are some instances where AIs may encounter issues:

Multiple-meaning words

For example: “The cake does not fit into the box because it is too big.” 

What does the “it” here refer to? Humans will assume that the “it” here may refer to the cake based on our common sense perception of things. 

However, AI systems may have difficulty making inferences and decisions because they don’t have common-sense knowledge.

Another ambiguous example is “We saw her sink.” 

This sentence can mean a lot of things. It can mean that we saw someone sinking, or someone’s sink in the kitchen, or that we decided to saw or cut her sink. 

Unlike AI, human readers can quickly identify what the writer intends to convey by considering the context in which the sentence is used. 

Identifying and deciphering metaphors and aphorisms

Aside from a lack of understanding and common-sense knowledge, AI also has other difficulties in reading comprehension. The difficulties they may face in comprehending texts include the use of aphorisms, metaphors, and interpreting prose and poetry since these all have different interpretations. 

Identifying criticism or humor

Other challenges may include identifying criticisms and humor. AI systems may have worked on improving their understanding of texts, but their developments are mostly focused on understanding the structure of sentences and not the semantics or the meaning of a sentence. 

How AI machines’ reading comprehension is tested?

The AI machines undergo a test to check their comprehension and whether they can provide precise answers to questions even after processing a huge amount of data.  

The most common test for AI is the Stanford Question Answering Dataset developed by researchers from Stanford University. It is 100,000 questions and answers based on information from 500 Wikipedia websites.

Another test is the General Language Understanding Evaluation (GLUE). It is a battery of nine reading-comprehension tasks for computers developed by a computational linguist, Sam Bowman. 

The gap between human comprehension and AI machines

Although AI machines have incredibly progressed in natural language, there is still a gap between AI and human comprehension. This gap is still the lack of understanding. 

AI machines may have improved in transcribing what you say, but there is a difference between understanding what you say and what you mean. 

The lack of understanding of AI may be irrevocable because AI can perfectly code structures of sentences but can never understand semantics as humans do. 

Nonetheless, this does not mean that AI cannot simulate human tasks that need understanding. It may require AI training machine learning models, in-depth knowledge engineering, or both. Otherwise, AI may fail in user interaction. 

Therefore, any AI machine, such as chatbox and virtual agents, can easily recognize written text, but they may have difficulty understanding what users want to convey.

How to improve your reading comprehension?

While AI is progressing in how it can comprehend texts and words, you too can improve your reading comprehension skills. 

Here are the tips on improving your reading comprehension: 

1. Activate your background knowledge

Activating your background knowledge and integrating it with the new information can help you comprehend the text better. 

To do this, you can ask yourself, “what do I know about this topic?” to stimulate your previous knowledge. This tip can help you make inferences and connect your existing knowledge to the information you are currently reading. 

If you tend to forget your lessons, don’t worry. Iris Reading has a Maximizing Memory course you can take to improve your memory.

2. Enhance vocabulary skills

Vocabulary can help you understand a text and enables you to read with ease and fluency. When you know what you are reading, you can easily comprehend the text. 

To enhance your vocabulary skills, you can use flashcards to test yourself on words you already know and words you don’t know. When you’ve learned new words, use them when you are writing or verbally communicating. 

Read more. The more you read, the more you can improve your vocabulary. Reading can also facilitate your ability to guess what an unfamiliar word means through context clues. If you can’t guess, you can list the unfamiliar words and look them up in the dictionary. 

3. Read aloud

Reading aloud is another tip to improve your reading comprehension skills. This tip can integrate visual and audio learning when you are reading. It also slows you down to give you time to process the information you are reading. 

4. Remove distractions

Distractions, even the slightest one, can negatively affect your comprehension. So, remove distractions when you are reading to help you increase your focus on the reading material. Focus and concentration can enable you to understand better the texts you are reading. 

5. Identify the main idea

When you identify the main idea of a text, you will know and understand its importance. Understanding the main idea will help you grasp what the author is trying to convey.

To easily identify the main idea, pause every few paragraphs and try to decipher the main points. Then, put them in your own words. 

6. Summarize what you read

Summarizing can enhance your comprehension because it lets you focus on relevant information, combine and condense similar ideas, and connect major themes. 

Since summarizing requires writing down the main ideas in your own words, this tip can help you determine whether you truly understand the text. It also helps you remember and put the information in your long-term memory. 

Practicing this technique can help you to automatically summarize while reading, leading to better comprehension. 

7. Formulate questions about the reading material

Asking yourself questions before and after reading can improve your comprehension. This can help you gain more insight and broaden your interpretation of the reading material. 

In creating a question, make a “right now question” that focuses on the text. For example, “what are the facts mentioned in the text?”

You can also create analytical questions to facilitate your reflection on what you have learned (e.g., What does the writer wants me to learn?). A research question will also encourage you to look for more information besides what is presented in the material. 

8. Re-read the text

This tip is useful when you do not easily understand what the text is trying to say. When you re-read, read slowly and take your time understanding and looking up for unfamiliar words, ensuring reading comprehension. 

Wrapping up

The advancement of technology is an incredible yet scary thing. For instance, Artificial Intelligence is a brilliant discovery that can assist humans in doing tasks easily. However, it also stirs worries that machines may soon replace humans. 

While scientists and inventors strive to improve their technologies, humans can also improve themselves to keep their edge above the AI machines. 

One skill that the AI has now mastered and surpassed humans is reading comprehension. But this does not mean that humans cannot improve in this field. 

With some easy-to-follow tips, anyone can enhance their reading comprehension. For instance, try improving your vocabulary skills and activating background knowledge, both of which require a good memory. 

However, if you don’t have a good memory, you can enroll in an online memory course, such as the Iris Reading Maximizing Memory course, to thoroughly guide you in enhancing your memory.  

Enroll in the Maximizing Memory course now!

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