Announcing “Voices in AI” Podcast

Artificial intelligence has received more digital ink recently than just about any topic in technology. This level of coverage is warranted, since AI reaches new milestones seemingly every week. So whenever AI exceeds human capabilities in some new area, we collectively reflect on what this all means and speculate about what the machines might do next. And on this topic, everyone has opinions, including Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban and Stephen Hawking.

The interesting thing to me is how different all of their opinions are. Some think the AIs will take away our jobs; others believe they will create better ones for everyone. Some say we should fear the AIs while others maintain that such concerns are science fiction nonsense. Some predict we will get a general AI in a few years; others think a few centuries.

Why is this? Why do so many smart, informed people have such different opinions on how this technology will unfold? That is the question I am seeking out an answer to with “Voices in AI.”

“Voices in AI” is a one-hour podcast in which I have a one-on-one conversation with people associated with AI in one way or the other. Our guests are from industry, academia, and include a number of writers, both fiction and nonfiction.

To date, we have recorded 35 episodes. Some of our guests are listed below:

  • James Barrat (author, “Our Final Invention”)
  • Yoshua Bengio (professor and author, “Deep Learning”)
  • Nick Bostrom (author, “Superintelligence”)
  • Soumith Chintala (Facebook)
  • Adam Coates (Baidu)
  • Nikola Danaylov (author, “Conversations With the Future”)
  • Jeff Dean (Google)
  • Pedro Domingos (professor and author, “The Master Algorithm”)
  • Esther Dyson (investor and author)
  • Oren Etzioni (Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence)
  • Martin Ford (author, “Rise of the Robots”)
  • Carolina Galleguillos (Thumbtack)
  • Rand Hindi (Snips)
  • Bryon Jacobs (Data.world)
  • Daphne Koller (Calico Labs, Coursera)
  • Hugo Larochelle (Google)
  • Markus Noga (SAP)
  • Gregory Piatetsky (KDnuggets)
  • Mark Rolston (argodesign)
  • Suchi Saria (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Robert Sawyer (AI sci-fi author and speaker)
  • Rudina Seseri (investor)
  • Nova Spivack (investor and entrepreneur)
  • Mark Stevenson (author, “We Do Things Differently”)
  • Mike Tamir (Takt; lecturer, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Alan Winfield (professor and robot ethicist)
  • Roman Yampolskiy (professor and author, “Artificial Superintelligence”)

In most cases, I start the interview with a simple question: “What is artificial intelligence?” Even to this very basic question, I have yet to get the same answer twice. This fact alone is quite telling. There isn’t even any kind of consensus on whether artificial intelligence actually is intelligent or is just pretending to be, the way artificial turf isn’t really grass but just looks like it.

From this launching point, my guests and I go through the entire litany of issues, from the future of work to the use of AI in warfare. We discuss how similar machine intelligence is to human intelligence and try to understand how it is that humans so effortlessly do some things that machines are nowhere near able to do. We discuss the possibility of machine consciousness, whether humans in fact have general intelligence, and so on.

In short, the episodes are a full hour of in-depth discussion of what I think is the most interesting topic on the planet.

The podcast will be launched at the end of August. We will be releasing groups of episodes all at once for your binge-listening pleasure. Transcripts will be available for all of the episodes for those who prefer to read.

I am posting this article for three reasons:

  • We are looking for sponsors who want to be associated with this podcast and the issues it explores. Anyone interested in discussing this should send an email to ai@gigaom.com.
  • We are looking for guests to be on the show. If you are in the AI industry in one form or another and these are topics you want to spend an hour exploring, send an email to ai@gigaom.com. Please include a short bio of yourself (or who you are nominating) along with a link to relevant audio or video.
  • If you would like to be notified when we launch and receive occasional emails on this topic, please add your name here.

It feels as though we are living at a great turning point in history, one driven by technology. If you want to be part of that conversation, I invite you to tune in.

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