Inside the Artificial Intelligence Revolution

Human-Machine Interaction, Ken Goldberg. Copyright Noah Berger / 2016
Human-Machine Interaction, Ken Goldberg. Copyright Noah Berger / 2016

Inside the Artificial Intelligence Revolution: Ken Goldberg, director of CITRIS People and Robots, was quoted in a Rolling Stones article covering recent developments in artificial intelligence. Regarding future AI research, Goldberg says that “there are things that robots are good at, and things that humans are good at. So we need to think about them in duality because then you can find cases where the robot will let humans do things better than they could before.” Professor Goldberg leads the People and Robots Initiative at CITRIS, where he and his team develop robotics and AI systems with a human-centric approach.

Rolling Stone, March 9, 2016 – It’s a weird feeling, cruising around Silicon Valley in a car driven by no one. I am in the back seat of one of Google’s self-driving cars – a converted Lexus SUV with lasers, radar and low-res cameras strapped to the roof and fenders – as it maneuvers the streets of Mountain View, California, not far from Google’s headquarters. I grew up about five miles from here and remember riding around on these same streets on a Schwinn Sting-Ray. Now, I am riding an algorithm, you might say – a mathematical equation, which, written as computer code, controls the Lexus. The car does not feel dangerous, nor does it feel like it is being driven by a human. It rolls to a full stop at stop signs (something no Californian ever does), veers too far away from a delivery van, taps the brakes for no apparent reason as we pass a line of parked cars.

I wonder if the flaw is in me, not the car: Is it reacting to something I can’t see? The car is capable of detecting the motion of a cat, or a car crossing the street hundreds of yards away in any direction, day or night (snow and fog can be another matter). “It sees much better than a human being,” Dmitri Dolgov, the lead software engineer for Google’s self-driving-car project, says proudly. He is sitting behind the wheel, his hands on his lap. Just in case.

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