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Learn to fear artificial intelligence at ESC Minneapolis 2017

September 15, 2017

Max The Magnificent-September 15, 2017

Last week, I mentioned the first keynote to be presented at the forthcoming Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Minneapolis, which is to be held November 8-9, 2017, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This thought-provoking presentation -- Priming Your Brain to Percolate Brilliant Ideas -- will be given by Ransom Stephens.

Well, as mind-boggling as that session is going to be, I'm also really looking forward to hearing the second keynote -- Artificial Intelligence: What Will the Future Be? -- which is to be presented by Maria Gini.

Maria is CSE Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota where she studies decision-making by autonomous agents for such tasks as robot exploration, distributed methods for allocation of tasks, and teamwork for search and rescue. As we read in the session description:

Artificial Intelligence has made incredible progress in the last few years and is reaching the point where it has the potential to impact society in major ways. In the future, intelligent systems and robots will become part of our daily lives, helping us with routine tasks, handling dangerous jobs, and keeping us company. But they could also become capable of making decisions that violate our ethical principles, take control of our lives, and disrupt society.

In this presentation, Maria will explore the state of the art in intelligent systems and discuss future developments and open challenges.

On the one hand, I'm very excited about current developments with regard to deep learning, artificial intelligence, and cognitive (thinking, reasoning) systems. I'm particularly interested in the ways in which these technologies will be combined with virtual reality and augmented reality systems (see also my own session on Advanced Technologies for 21st Century Embedded Systems).

On the other hand, ever since I read Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (see my review), I have to admit that I've grown a little less sanguine about the idea of letting artificially intelligent agents rampage loose in the world.

So, will Maria's keynote comfort me, or will it leave me with a case of the heebie-jeebies? Are you planning on attending ESC Minneapolis? If so, perhaps I'll see you at Maria's presentation. Happily, this will be open to anyone to attend so long as they are flaunting a Free Expo Pass, but you do have to register. I'll be the one in the Hawaiian shirt. As always, all you have to do is shout "Max, Beer!" or "Max, Bacon!" to be assured of my undivided attention.

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