Jüer­gen Sch­mid­hu­ber

Rotman Management Magazine - - FROM THE EDITOR -

Co-founder and Chief Sci­en­tist, NNAISENSE; Sci­en­tific Di­rec­tor, Dalle Molle In­sti­tute for AI Re­search; Pro­fes­sor of AI, Univer­sity of Ap­plied Sciences and Arts of South­ern Switzer­land

EVEN MI­NOR EX­TEN­SIONS of ex­ist­ing ma­chine learn­ing and neu­ral net­work al­go­rithms will achieve im­por­tant su­per-hu­man feats in nu­mer­ous fields, rang­ing from med­i­cal diagnostics to smarter smart­phones that will solve more of your prob­lems. In the not­too-dis­tant fu­ture we will have what I call ‘watch-and-learn ro­bot­ics’, where we quickly teach an ar­ti­fi­cial neu­ral net­work to con­trol a com­plex robot with many de­grees of free­dom to ex­e­cute com­plex tasks, such as as­sem­bling a smart­phone, solely by vis­ual demon­stra­tion and by talk­ing to it, with­out touch­ing or oth­er­wise guid­ing the robot. Go­ing for­ward, this will af­fect many pro­fes­sions.

My com­pany re­cently won the Learn­ing to Run com­pe­ti­tion at NIPS, the ma­chine learn­ing con­fer­ence in Long Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, go­ing up against over 400 com­peti­tors from in­dus­try and academia. The chal­lenge was to learn to con­trol the mus­cles of a sim­u­lated hu­man torso and make it run as far as pos­si­ble with­out a teacher. Hu­man ba­bies need a year or so to learn to get up and walk and run, and our run­ner also needed many weeks of com­pu­ta­tion time [watch this video at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=rhnx­t0vccse].

Else­where, in a project with AUDI, we built the brains of the first model cars that learned how to park from scratch, again with­out a teacher [watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=c01qvu5e1oi]. We also have AI ap­pli­ca­tions in in­dus­try and fi­nance. Our joint ven­ture with Acatis is called Quan­ten­stein, with the first purely Ai-driven port­fo­lio man­age­ment.

We be­lieve we can go far be­yond what is pos­si­ble to­day and pull off the big prac­ti­cal break­through that will change ev­ery­thing, in line with my motto since the 1970s: Build an AI smarter than my­self, so that I can re­tire. What would it be used for? Ev­ery­thing. Hu­mans should do zero per cent of the hard and bor­ing work, com­put­ers the rest. How far off is this? Not more than a few years or decades. We are cur­rently wit­ness­ing the ig­ni­tion phase of this field’s ex­plo­sion. This is much more than just an­other in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion. This is some­thing new that will tran­scend hu­mankind and even bi­ol­ogy.

Peo­ple of­ten ask me how to pre­pare for the fu­ture. I tell them what I tell my daugh­ters: Be pre­pared to learn new things all the time, and make sure to learn how to learn. It will al­ways be an ad­van­tage to know a bit of math and physics, be­cause the world is based on them. In ad­di­tion to that, ac­quire some­thing that I don’t have — namely, so­cial skills. Then you will be able to quickly mas­ter all new chal­lenges.

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