Better than us? Sebastian Thrun thinks AI is humanity’s biggest competition


My name is Sebastian Thrun. I’m founder of Udacity and professor at Stanford. Artificial intelligence is a
completely fascinating field and the recent two years have been crazy. There’s been Google beating
the world’s strongest, go player, we’ve seen cars
driving themselves better than humans can drive them. We’ve even seen medical
doctors being outpaced by the iPhone apps that find skin cancer more accurately than people can. The driving force behind
this is very large data. Large data and fast machines they can pick up the
patterns in our daily work and then copy them from us and eventually do better than us. Many of us believe that AI will first destroy or take
over the low paid jobs, like the taxi drivers, what have you but most recently advances show that even incredibly high paid people like medical doctors and lawyers can at least in part be augmented or replaced by AI. I ran a study at Stanford
recently with my students to try to find skin cancer using a AI system
trained on 129,000 images of skin patches and after doing this, we compare ourselves to 21 of the world’s best dermatologists who were being paid often more than $400,000 a year to find things like skin
cancer and treat them and we found lo and behold we did better than any
one of these doctors. Now, with the eye being able
to do the petty work for us, what’s gonna happen to us? I firmly believe we gonna invent new jobs. We gonna unleash a level of creativity that’s never been unleashed before. We gonna invent many more things and as I result we as a
society, we as human beings we go and transition to a phase where we’ve just never been before. Any person in the 21st century is confronted with the question how to learn the right skills for their entire lifetime and I think the myth
of a one-time education where you just go to college once and you’re done for the rest of your life is gonna be a myth, it’s not true anymore. Instead we have to life-long learn. Technology turns over approximately
every five to 10 years and as a result new
business models emerge, others will die and to stay current, we have
to learn these new skills. Right now, hottest skill on the planet, deep learning, artificial intelligence, how to make machines really smart. There’s only an estimated
10,000 experts in the world that can really program
deep learning algorithms. I think if we had 10 million, we could massively move faster and there’s plenty open
jobs for everybody.

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