Episode 1: Taking the Mystery out of AI

Guest: Dr Stuart Feldman

In this episode we explore what AI is and what has happened to make it, after almost seventy years of research, so prominent in public awareness today.  At one time AI seemed to be science fiction.  AI is now everwhere in our daily lives.  From Google’s search predictions to image and voice recognition to self-driving vehicles, the rapid advancement in AI’s utility has been extraordinary. 

To help us understand the evolution of AI, our guest for this episode is Dr Stuart Feldman, famous among computer scientists as the creator of a phenomenally useful tool named make, used by generations of software engineers to manage the building of programs.

Dr Feldman started his career as an astrophysicist, earning a BS from Princeton and a PhD from MIT for work modeling galaxies, which he did by writing the code that implemented the models.  This software work led to a career in computer science, starting at Bell Labs as part of the team that developed the UNIX operating system and the suite of software and tools based on it.  From Bell Labs, he moved to Bellcore and subsequently to IBM Research.  After IBM he worked at Google’s New York engineering center.  He now leads scientific research programs at Schmidt Futures, the philanthropic initiative whose mission is “to connect the brightest minds everywhere with opportunities to solve the world's hardest problems.”

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