AI systems should not only propose solutions or answers but also explain why they make sense. Statistical machine learning is a powerful tool for discovering patterns in data, but, David Ferrucci asks, can it produce understanding or enable humans to justify and take reasoned responsibility for individual outcomes?
David offers an overview of Elemental Cognition, a company focused on creating AI systems that autonomously learn from human language and interaction to become powerful and fluent thought partners that facilitate complex decision making. Specifically, Elemental Cognition investigates a future in which AI is a powerful amplifier of human creativity—a system that leverages statistical machine learning but focuses primarily on a type of learning that enables humans and machines to share an understanding and collaborate on exploring the question, “Why?”
David Ferrucci is the founder of Elemental Cognition, a company focused on creating AI systems that autonomously learn from human language and interaction to facilitate complex decision making in areas ranging from healthcare to economics, and leads the Systematized Intelligence Lab at Bridgewater Associates, where he explores the application of AI in building explicable data-driven systems for optimal management and people analytics. An award-winning artificial intelligence researcher, David started and led the IBM Watson team from its inception in 2006 to its celebrated success in 2011, when Watson defeated the greatest Jeopardy players of all time—a landmark in AI. Previously, he pioneered Watson’s applications in health, which helped lay the technical foundation for a new Healthcare division at IBM, and led numerous projects prior to Watson, including AI systems for manufacturing, automated configuration, document assembly, and open source software and standards for large-scale text and multimodal analytics.
David has over 50 patents and published papers in the areas of AI, automated reasoning, NLP, intelligent systems architectures, automatic text generation, and automatic question answering. He has given keynotes at highly distinguished events around the world, including many of the top computing conferences. David has been interviewed by media and organizations ranging from the New York Times to Bloomberg West to the Computer History Museum. He is an IBM fellow and has won many awards for his work, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Innovation Award and the AAAI Feigenbaum Prize. David holds a PhD in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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