Fireside Chat with Tom Dietterich

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BigML’s Chief Scientist, Emeritus Professor Tom Dietterich was recently interviewed by Eric Horvitz as part of Microsoft Research’s Fireside Chat series with distinguished thought leaders in the fields of Machine Learning, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing.

The interview goes into the details of Professor Dietterich’s early interest in Machine Learning as well as the history and evolution of the discipline: starting with the period of “known knowns” when fully deterministic systems ruled the roost, going on with the “known unknowns” period introducing probabilistic reasoning, and culminating in today’s “unknown unknowns”  focusing on bringing systems where the computer doesn’t have a full model of the real world phenomenon it’s trying to predict.

Other interesting topics covered include:

  • What do kangaroos have to do with BMW?
  • Ideas on how to go from “narrow AI” to broader AI
  • Ethical challenges of today’s AI systems
  • How “differentiable programming” is marrying corporate interest with a new set of tools in the current AI landscape
  • Which research areas are likely to surprise us in 8 to 10 years?


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