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Ep 14. Risto Miikkulainen: AI, Adversity, and A new Era of Work

By Nate Eckman

Risto Miikkulainen is a professor of neural and evolutionary computation at the University of Texas, Austin. As a researcher of artificial intelligence, his life’s work has ushered in findings and technologies that are aiding in the goal to make machines autonomous. Though not yet a reality, his vision for the future is a world where computers - once built - will update themselves, write their own code, and perpetually learn without any human input.    What does this have to do with resilience? Risto gives a few illuminating examples where AI thrives under adverse conditions. In fact, he argues that high-pressure environments are an essential element to the development of AI. Given that much of AI has been modeled off of the human brain this is remarkable insight to how we also develop.  Moreover, Risto and I talk about how society might remain resilient amidst rapid technological changes. Ultimately, Risto and I agree that much of the fear-mongering conversations surrounding AI are only half the conversation.    He sees a world that’s directly influencing every part of our lives. Meaning, the next wave of technological advancements won’t merely effect the functionalities of your phone. Rather, he sees a world where AI decides the laws we make and even politicians to elect.    While this kind of world seems scary, Risto welcomes the changes. Most importantly, he believes that AI will introduce more independence and greater opportunities for individuals.   Let’s keep the conversation going on the Resilient Us Facebook page. How do you envision the future of humans and AI? 

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