Guest Speaker: Dr. Doug Downey
Dr. Doug Downey, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University, will speak on the topic, Is Artificial Intelligence Good and When Will It Get Here? Today more than ever, there is intense debate over the future that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will create. On the one hand are dire predictions that AI is “more dangerous than nukes” - apocalyptic visions in which AI renders humankind obsolete or even non-existent. On the other side are promises of a utopian future – any day now, self-driving cars will whisk us wherever we want to go, and human-like robots will automate the drudgery of daily life. Dr. Downey will discuss exciting AI applications that lie on the horizon, arguing that the predictions of impending radical change (whether positive or negative) are overblown. The road to artificial intelligence will be longer and bumpier than many realize. Further, the future of AI is something we must collectively choose. Dr. Downey will discuss what each of us can do to help ensure that AI ultimately works in humankind’s best interests.
Downey received a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington in 2008, and has worked in the fields of natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for 15 years. His research focuses on new ways to automatically extract knowledge from the World Wide Web, with a goal of enabling improved Web search technology. He was selected as one of seven awardees of a Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship in 2010, was appointed to DARPA’s Computer Science Study Panel in 2011, and received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation in 2014. He has recently contributed to research prototypes including www.semanticscholar.org and www.atlastify.com.