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South Dakota Festival of Books Guest Speaker

Friday, Sep. 23, 2022

Event Details

Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering
Seminar Announcement

The Myth of Artificial Intelligence
Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do


September 23, 2022
Bailey Rotunda G
2 – 3 PM

Futurists insist that AI will soon eclipse the capacities of the most gifted human mind. But we aren’t really on the path to developing intelligent machines. In fact, we don’t even know where that path might be. Erik J. Larson takes us on a tour of the landscape of AI to show how far we are from superintelligence, and what it would take to get there. Ever since Alan Turing, AI enthusiasts have equated artificial intelligence with human intelligence. This is a profound mistake. AI works on inductive reasoning, crunching data sets to predict outcomes. But humans don’t correlate data sets: we make conjectures informed by context and experience. We haven’t a clue how to program this kind of intuitive reasoning, known as abduction. That’s why Alexa can’t always understand what you are asking, and why AI can only take us so far. Larson argues that AI hype is both bad science and bad for science. A culture of invention thrives on exploring unknowns, not overselling existing methods. If we want to make real progress, we will need to start by more fully appreciating the only true intelligence we know—our own.

About the speaker

Erik J. Larson, author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence, is a computer scientist and tech entrepreneur. The founder of two DARPA-funded AI startups, he is currently working on core issues in natural language processing and machine learning. Larson has written for The Atlantic and for professional journals and has tested the technical boundaries of artificial intelligence through his work with the IC2 tech incubator at the University of Texas at Austin.

Event Audience

Public includes SDSU Faculty/Staff/Students