Lex Fridman interviews Sergey Levine in episode 108 of his podcast.

Sergey Levine is a professor at Berkeley and a world-class researcher in deep learning, reinforcement learning, robotics, and computer vision, including the development of algorithms for end-to-end training of neural network policies that combine perception and control, scalable algorithms for inverse reinforcement learning, and deep RL algorithms. This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast.

Episode outline:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 3:05 – State-of-the-art robots vs humans
  • 16:13 – Robotics may help us understand intelligence
  • 22:49 – End-to-end learning in robotics
  • 27:01 – Canonical problem in robotics
  • 31:44 – Commonsense reasoning in robotics
  • 34:41 – Can we solve robotics through learning?
  • 44:55 – What is reinforcement learning?
  • 1:06:36 – Tesla Autopilot
  • 1:08:15 – Simulation in reinforcement learning
  • 1:13:46 – Can we learn gravity from data?
  • 1:16:03 – Self-play
  • 1:17:39 – Reward functions
  • 1:27:01 – Bitter lesson by Rich Sutton
  • 1:32:13 – Advice for students interesting in AI
  • 1:33:55 – Meaning of life

There has been a lot of talk over the last year or so about the coming of a new “AI Winter.”

As the world grapples with the economic fallout of a pandemic, is this still a concern?

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the future is hard to predict.

IDC predicts that spending on AI will continue to grow this year driven by the need to improve customer experience, help employees get better at their jobs, and accelerate innovation. As we emerge from the current global emergency, every organization is going to be firmly focused on efficiency, profitability and competitiveness. And that’s where AI pays dividends.

Lex Fridman interviews Peter Singer in this enlightening episode of his podcast.

Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton, best known for his 1975 book Animal Liberation, that makes an ethical case against eating meat. He has written brilliantly from an ethical perspective on extreme poverty, euthanasia, human genetic selection, sports doping, the sale of kidneys, and happiness including in his books Ethics in the Real World and The Life You Can Save. He was a key popularizer of the effective altruism movement and is generally considered one of the most influential philosophers in the world. This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast.

Content index:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 5:25 – World War II
  • 9:53 – Suffering
  • 16:06 – Is everyone capable of evil?
  • 21:52 – Can robots suffer?
  • 37:22 – Animal liberation
  • 40:31 – Question for AI about suffering
  • 43:32 – Neuralink
  • 45:11 – Control problem of AI
  • 51:08 – Utilitarianism
  • 59:43 – Helping people in poverty
  • 1:05:15 – Mortality

I talked about this in a recent podcast episode, but it is worth taking a closer look at Walmart’s plans to add more robots to their stores.

The retailer is adding shelf-scanning robots to 650 stores by the summer. The robots can scan items on shelves to assist with price accuracy and restocking. The six-foot-tall devices contain 15 cameras each, which scan aisles and shelves and send alerts to employees in real time.

And how do employees feel about the robots?

“Our associates immediately understood the opportunity for the new technology to free them up from focusing on tasks that are repeatable, predictable, and manual,” John Crecelius, senior vice president of central operations for Walmart US, said in a company blog post about automation in April. “It allows them time to focus more on selling merchandise and serving customers, which they tell us have always been the most exciting parts of working in retail.”