When Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking both make apocalyptic pronouncements, the world tends to pay attention. Milestones in artificial intelligence have been rapidly surpassed in the last decade, and recent results by Google DeepMind in Go suggest that this progress is unlikely to slow down soon. Stuart Russell, professor of computer science at Berkeley, and Jaan Tallinn, founding engineer at Skype, explore and debate the future of artificial intelligence in a panel discussion moderated by Marc Warner.
We are already familiar with algorithms able to complete very specific tasks, such as searching the Internet or recognizing images to label photos. In many cases, these algorithms already outperform humans in terms of speed, reliability, and quality. The long-term progress, however, is toward increasingly general AI, which outperforms humans at nearly every cognitive task we care about. Success in building an unconstrained artificial general intelligence would bring both huge risks and huge benefits. Stuart and Jaan seek to understand what this means and what can be done to ensure favorable outcomes.
Marc Warner is the cofounder and CEO of ASI Data Science. He founded ASI in the belief that the benefits of AI should extend to everyone and has shaped the company so that it can support organizations of all shapes and sizes to take advantage of rapid advances in this field. In the two years since founding ASI, Marc has overseen its growth to more than 50 employees and expanded its scope from a small fellowship scheme to a cutting-edge range of software, training, project, and advisory services. He has led over 50 data science projects for clients ranging from multinational companies like EasyJet and Siemens to the UK government and NHS. His work has been covered by the BBC, the Telegraph, the Independent, and many more. Previously, Marc was the Marie Curie Fellow of Physics at Harvard University, studying quantum metrology and quantum computing. His PhD research, in the field of quantum computing, was awarded the Stoneham prize and was published in Nature and covered in the New York Times.
Stuart Russell is a professor (and former chair) in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he holds the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering. He is also an adjunct professor of neurological surgery at UC San Francisco and vice chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on AI and Robotics. Stuart’s research covers a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence, including machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, knowledge representation, planning, real-time decision making, multitarget tracking, computer vision, computational physiology, global seismic monitoring, and philosophical foundations. His books include The Use of Knowledge in Analogy and Induction, Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality (with Eric Wefald), and Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (with Peter Norvig). His current concerns include the threat of autonomous weapons and the long-term future of artificial intelligence and its relation to humanity.
Stuart is a recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation, the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, the World Technology Award (policy category), the Mitchell Prize of the American Statistical Association and the International Society for Bayesian Analysis, the ACM Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, and the EAAI Outstanding Educator Award. In 1998, he gave the Forsythe Memorial Lectures at Stanford University and from 2012 to 2014, he held the Chaire Blaise Pascal in Paris. He is a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Stuart holds a PhD in computer science from Stanford and a BA with first-class honors in physics from Oxford University.
Jaan Tallinn is an Estonian programmer who participated in the development of Skype in 2002 and FastTrack/Kazaa, a file-sharing application, in 2000. Jaan is partner and cofounder of the development company Bluemoon, which created the game SkyRoads. He graduated from the University of Tartu with a BSc in theoretical physics; his thesis involved traveling interstellar distances using warps in space-time. Jaan is a former member of the Estonian President’s Academic Advisory Board, as well as a founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, the Future of Life Institute, and the personalized medical research company MetaMed.
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