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In Praise of Unclear and Indistinct Ideas: Implications of Deep Learning and Second Wave AI


Event Summary

Photo by Max Herman

Prognostications abound about the promises and perils of Deep Learning and “second wave” Artificial Intelligence (AI). But trenchant analyses of second wave AI remain thin on the ground—serious assessments of its capabilities and its limits. In this talk, Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow Brian Cantwell Smith argued two things: that the successes of Deep Learning bear important ontological and epistemological implications for our understanding of language, concepts, and mind; but also that nothing in any current or envisaged approaches to second (or third) wave AI will lead to genuine intelligence—to dispassionate, responsible, considered judgment, grounded in and held accountable to the world as world.


Brian Cantwell Smith (Reid Hoffman Professor of AI and the Human, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto)


James Conant (Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities, University of Chicago)

Rick Stevens (Associate Laboratory Director for Computing, Environment, and Life Sciences, Argonne National Laboratory; Professor of Computer Science, University of Chicago)

Wine and cheese reception for all attendees.

This event was sponsored by the Organon for the Information Age project at the Neubauer Collegium.