No recent scientific enterprise has proved as alluring, terrifying, promising, and frustrating as artificial intelligence. Leading computer scientist Melanie Mitchell joins us to reveal the turbulent history of this field and the recent surge of apparent successes, grand hopes, and emerging fears that surround AI. She presents insights from her book Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans, addressing our many burning questions concerning AI today. How intelligent—really—are the best AI programs? How do they work? What can they actually do, and when do they fail? How humanlike do we expect them to become, and how soon do we need to worry about them surpassing us? Mitchell explores the profound disconnect between the hype and the actual achievements in AI, providing a clear sense of what the field has accomplished and how much farther it has to go. With liveliness and humor, Mitchell steps up to act as a clear-sighted and approachable guide to understanding the modern field of AI, its quest for “human-level” intelligence, and its impacts on all of our futures.
Melanie Mitchell has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan, where she studied with the cognitive scientist and writer Douglas Hofstadter; together, they created the Copycat program, which makes creative analogies in an idealized world. The author or editor of five books and numerous scholarly papers, she is currently a professor of computer science at Portland State University and external professor at the Santa Fe Institute.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.