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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

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EPISODE # 292

Gary Marcus — Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust

Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust (book cover)

Despite the hype surrounding AI, creating an intelligence that rivals or exceeds human levels is far more complicated than we have been led to believe. The achievements in the field thus far have occurred in closed systems with fixed sets of rules, and these approaches are too narrow to achieve genuine intelligence. The real world, in contrast, is wildly complex and open-ended. How can we bridge this gap? What will the consequences be when we do? Taking inspiration from the human mind, Marcus explains what we need to advance AI to the next level, and suggests that if we are wise along the way, we won’t need to worry about a future of machine overlords. If we focus on endowing machines with common sense and deep understanding, rather than simply focusing on statistical analysis and gathering ever larger collections of data, we will be able to create an AI we can trust — in our homes, our cars, and our doctors’ offices. Rebooting AI provides a lucid, clear-eyed assessment of the current science and offers an inspiring vision of how a new generation of AI can make our lives better.

Shermer and Marcus discuss:

  • why AI chatbot LaMDA is not sentient
  • “mind”, “thinking”, and “consciousness”, and how do molecules and matter give rise to such nonmaterial processes
  • the hard problem of consciousness
  • the self and other minds
  • How would we know if an AI system was sentient?
  • Can AI systems be conscious?
  • Does Deep Blue know that it beat the great Gary Kasparov in chess?
  • Does Watson know that it beat the great Ken Jennings in Jeopardy!?
  • free will, determinism, compatibilism, and panpsychism
  • language
  • self and the inner life
  • Can we have an inner life without language?
  • How rational or irrational an animal are we?

Gary Marcus is a scientist, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. He is Founder and CEO of Robust.AI, and was Founder and CEO of Geometric Intelligence, a machine learning company acquired by Uber in 2016. He is the author of five books, including The Algebraic Mind, Kluge, The Birth of the Mind, and the New York Times best seller Guitar Zero, as well as editor of The Future of the Brain and The Norton Psychology Reader. He has published extensively in fields ranging from human and animal behavior to neuroscience, genetics, linguistics, evolutionary psychology and artificial intelligence, often in leading journals such as Science and Nature, and is perhaps the youngest Professor Emeritus at NYU. His newest book, co-authored with Ernest Davis, Rebooting AI: Building Machines We Can Trust aims to shake up the field of artificial intelligence.

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This episode is sponsored by Wren and Wondrium:

Wren (sponsor)
Wondrium (sponsor)

This episode was released on August 16, 2022.

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