Interesting fact from reading this that normally gets neglected in media.
One of the most tried and true routes to getting into the best academia-oriented colleges (Harvard, MIT, Caltech, etc.) is to win one of the big science fairs. I am not sure what they are called or who their sponsors are these days, but they used be sponsored by Westinghouse, Intel, and Siemens. Anyway, if you look at bios of winners or semifinalists, they almost always have a close relative in academia. Which in these competitions is actually a massive competitive advantage since your relative can get you into labs, access to equipment, and push you towards fruitful projects they quietly are guiding from the background.
Same with a lot of the international olympiads, very often the kids come from intense tiger parent families that are already in academia or do everything they can to get their kids the best physics/math/whatever tutors (the main exceptions to this are usually kids in large metro areas going to top magnet schools).
And then of course once you're in these top academic institutes, your relatives can further help you network and get into the best labs, show you how to get the best fellowships and academic internships to set you up for top grad schools, etc. Plus now that you have a top olympiad/science fair your credentials will give you a big plus in competing against others without them
I ran into so many roadblocks when I started seriously looking into going into academia when I was 16-17; if you don't have top science fairs or olympiads your chances of getting into top academic undergrads are already at risk, which has negative compounding effects down the line compared to the positive compounding effects of those that do get these, especially if you are a white or asian male. Close relatives of academics and people going to top magnet schools in major metro areas have huge headstarts compared to everyone else. Having a good IQ is just one of many requisites into going into academia, accomplishment-oriented credentials are much more valuable in your early career than things like regular standardized test scores
Many friends from grad school have tenure-track jobs. None of them, as far as I know, participated in these contests. I would bet that things effectively reset once you start grad school and again once you’re in a faculty job.
It is true that academic recognition tends to snowball. Winning your nth grant or fellowship is exponentially easier than the first one “because you have a track record.”
i dont think the math adds up.
As far as whites, alumni preference is typically as strong or stronger a weighting than affirmative action in undergrad admissions, and segregation wasn't outlawed until around 50 years ago meaning there are less alumni for non-whites to draw on, and many of the schools received federal money during segregation.
He's not exactly Louis Pasteur is what I'm saying!
Hinton got lucky: something he had nothing to do with changed, making him look like a stoic hero.
A winning strategy or just a lazy path?
Intuition allows systems to avoid search problems, to some extent. Formal reasoning introduces structure.
* Ofc Hinton's approach is based on logic too, but in the form of probability, calculus etc.
Edit: I turns out I misread the article, it merely suggests his chosen approach was neural networks, rather than that neural networks are his idea. I think honestly it’s written ambiguously by intent.
This is right in the article. They don't attribute neural networks to Hinton—they just note that he worked with them.
This seems to happen as often as not. And sometimes the ones in the not category are that way for a reason!