Profile: Jürgen Schmidhuber

Jürgen Schmidhuber, computer scientist, AI researcher, co-director of the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research in Manno, Switzerland, and co-founder of Nnaisense should be viewed as a pioneer in the study of neural networks and AI as a whole. Although his 1997 paper co-authored with Sepp Hochreiter “Long Short-Term Memory” (which incorporated a notion of memory in neural networks) was not fully understood at the time, it laid the foundation for much subsequent research on neural networks and AI. According to his website, his research on Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) have had far-reaching applications. They have:

“revolutionized handwriting recognition, speech recognition, machine translation, image captioning,
and other fields, and are now available to billions of users through Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Baidu, and many other companies.”

Schmidhuber is not only a researcher focused on the fine-tuned details of neural networks. He also dedicates his time to thinking about the far-reaching impact AI will have in the future and how it can be implemented in the present. To that end, he co-founded and serves as the president of Nnaisense, which “leverages the 25-year proven track record of one of the leading research teams in AI to build large-scale neural network solutions for superhuman perception and intelligent automation, with the ultimate goal of marketing general-purpose Artificial Intelligences”. Nnaisense has already implemented AI in new and exciting ways, such as in Audi’s self-parking feature.

Schmidhuber thinks deeply about the future of AI and the rise of superintelligence. Recently at DLD in Munich, Jürgen discussed the fact that we are profiting a lot from the fact that every 5 years computers are getting 10 times faster. At this rate, we will be able to create AI that will have the computing power of a human brain in the foreseeable future. In the not-so-foreseeable future (within millions of years), we will see AI colonize the solar system. However, he assures us that we should not be afraid. We should be more worried about our fellow humans, since they share goals and inevitably compete with us.

In regards to the here and now of AI, Schmidhuber has little faith in the politician’s ability or desire to enact change. This is due to the fact that their focus is perforce short-sighted, since they are looking toward the next election in a few years time. In order to properly consider AI and determine a government’s stance toward it, much greater foresight is necessary.


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