Artificial intelligence system has IQ of 4-year-old

Artificial intelligence system ConceptNet 4 gets challenged to a preschool IQ test with mixed results.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
"AI" movie poster image
Maybe someday we'll get a real "AI" boy. DreamWorks/Warner Bros.

We're still very far away from Data on "Star Trek," an artificial intelligence creation with self-awareness and a human-like mind. But artificial intelligence designers are taking baby steps. More accurately, they're taking 4-year-old steps.

A study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago took one of today's top artificial intelligence systems, ConceptNet 4, and gave it an IQ test. Its average IQ worked out to be about that of a 4-year-old human, the researchers found.

ConceptNet 4 was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The UIC team used the verbal parts of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Test to put it through its paces.

While the overall IQ score was pretty impressive, the AI system had trouble with consistency. "If a child had scores that varied this much, it might be a symptom that something was wrong," said Robert Sloan, head of computer science at UIC.

ConceptNet 4 pretty much rocked the vocabulary test and the ability to recognize similarities. What it wasn't so hot on was the type of question that human toddlers really love: "Why?" It seems AI still isn't up to snuff on what us meat machines think of as common sense.

"We're still very far from programs with commonsense-AI that can answer comprehension questions with the skill of a child of 8," Sloan said. The researchers hope the study will help developers hone future AI systems.

Chalk one up for humans in the battle versus machines. At least our preteens are still smarter than them.