Will My Smart Phone Be Smarter Than Me?

by Colleen Scheck, APM producer

Perhaps you’ve asked yourself this question while speaking to Siri on your iPhone. It surfaced at yesterday’s World Science Festival event “The Creator: Alan Turing and the Future of Thinking Machines” where a panel of scientists and filmmakers discussed the nature and future of artificial intelligence.

The conversation was framed through the premiere of the film “The Creator” by artists Al+Al - a surreal, mythical journey of computers into the dreams and memories of Alan Turing as he contemplates suicide in his final hours of life. Wired UK recently interviewed Al+Al about the film.

It was a wide-ranging dialogue that touched on both the scientific and the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence work to create machines that will capture not just what we do, but the reasons we do what we do. I appreciated the historical perspective of NYU computer scientist Yann LeCun who noted that until recently computer science was about being exact, and artificial intelligence has forced computer science to deal with the unsolvable, or the “approximately solvable” - how we deal with uncertainty. This echoes Janna Levin’s perspective on the coexistence of mathematics and mystery that she so eloquently discusses in this week’s repeat broadcast. Is this a “Golden Age” in mathematics history?

In the photo above (l-r): Janna Levin, Josh Tenenbaum, and Yann LeCun discuss the nature and future of artificial intelligence at the World Science Festival.

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