Demystifying AI

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen several news stories about AI, machine learning and so-called Large Language Models. While tools like ChatGPT hold a lot of promise, many are deeply concerned about AI replacing jobs, generating potent malware, and being used in phishing and disinformation campaigns. Today I will ask AI expert Michael Littman to explain clearly what AI is and what it isn’t, how the technology actually works, and what we should and maybe shouldn’t be worried about.

Michael Littman is a computer science professor at Brown University who has won several prestigious teaching awards while studying machine learning and the implications of artificial intelligence. He serves as division director for Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation and is also a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Interview Notes

Further Info

Table of Contents

Use these timestamps to jump to a particular section of the show.

  • 0:00:56: Dragon coin promo update
  • 0:01:51: Interview preview
  • 0:03:15: What is Artificial Intelligence, really?
  • 0:05:36: Is it a mistake to anthropomorphize AI?
  • 0:08:50: What is AI versus machine learning?
  • 0:11:59: How does AI differ from normal computer code?
  • 0:14:49: What is a large language model or LLM?
  • 0:18:45: What does it take to create an LLM?
  • 0:22:04: Why are these AI models limited to certain points in time?
  • 0:26:46: How are these chat bots leading people to believe they’re sentient?
  • 0:28:54: What was behind the AI explosion in late 2022?
  • 0:32:29: How to AI systems generate images from text prompts?
  • 0:35:36: How are AI systems affected by their training data?
  • 0:40:24: Which concerns about AI are justified and which are overblown?
  • 0:44:55: What sorts of jobs may be impacted by AI?
  • 0:47:15: Is there an art to creating AI prompts?
  • 0:48:43: Can you trick AI systems?
  • 0:51:42: How do we detect AI output? How should we restrict this technology?
  • 0:56:19: How can we try out these AI systems to learn more?
  • 0:59:26: What’s the next big thing in AI?
  • 1:02:12: Why should people learn to do a little coding?
  • 1:05:27: Wrap-up
  • 1:07:01: Gandalf AI game
  • 1:08:19: Upcoming interviews