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Season 2 Episode 12

Shakir Mohamed

If any company is at the top of most people’s minds when it comes to AI, it’s DeepMind. They have been at the forefront of many major breakthroughs including AlphaGo, the first AI to beat a human Go world champion and AlphaFold, which revolutionized protein structure prediction.


Our guest on this week’s episode, Shakir Mohamed, joined DeepMind in the early days and has been an instrumental part of their success ever since. Shakir is a Senior Staff Scientist at DeepMind, an Associate Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, and a Honorary Professor of University College London. Shakir is also a founder and trustee of the Deep Learning Indaba, a grassroots organization aiming to build pan-African capacity and leadership in AI.


Pieter and Shakir discuss his career journey of coming to DeepMind, his professional accomplishments like using ML to solve the problem of nowcasting (short-term weather predictions), and his personal work of growing AI's global inclusion with orgs like Deep Learning Indaba.

Read the full transcript here.

| Host: Pieter Abbeel | Executive Producers: Alice Patel & Henry Tobias Jones | Production: Fresh Air Production


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Season 1 Ep. 22 Ilya Sutskever | The Robot Brains Podcast

Season 1 Ep. 22 Ilya Sutskever | The Robot Brains Podcast

On the last episode of Season One, our guest is Ilya Sutskever. Ilya is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of OpenAI. As a PhD student at Toronto, Ilya was one of the authors on the 2012 AlexNet paper that completely changed the field of AI, resulting in the widespread adoption of deep learning and the avalanche of AI breakthroughs we’ve seen the past 10 years. After the AlexNet breakthrough in computer vision, at Google, among many other breakthroughs, Ilya showed that neural networks are unexpectedly great at machine translation, at least at the time it was unexpected, now it’s long become the norm to use neural nets for machine translation. Late 2015 Ilya left Google to co-found OpenAI, where he is Chief Scientist. Some of his breakthroughs include GPT, CLIP, DallE, Codex. Ilya’s academic work, less than 10 years out of his PhD, has ben cited over 250,000 times, reflecting his absolutely mind-blowing influence on the field. What's in this episode: 00:00:00 Introductions 00:03:00 Why take a closer look at neural net works originally? 00:08:25 What was going through Ilya's mind during the AlexNet discovery? 00:18:25 Ilya's early years 00:21:19 How Ilya stayed motivated 00:29:07 Sam Altman and the beginning of OpenAI 00:36:22 LSTM models and reinforcement learning 00:56:06 How will our productivity change? 01:00:22 Instruction-following models 01:12:13 Ilya's vision of the future of work 01:16:14 Ilya's advice to be productive | SUBSCRIBE TO THE ROBOT BRAINS PODCAST TODAY | Website: Twitter: LinkedIn: Host: Pieter Abbeel Executive Producers: Ricardo Reyes & Henry Tobias Jones Associate Producer: Alice Patel Audio: Kieron Matthew Banerji Video: Bo Obradovic Music: Alejandro Del Pozo
Season 1 Ep. 21 Josh Lessing, CTO of AppHarvest | The Robot Brains Podcast

Season 1 Ep. 21 Josh Lessing, CTO of AppHarvest | The Robot Brains Podcast

On the penultimate episode (Ep.21) of Season One of The Robot Brains Podcast our guest is Josh Lessing. Josh is the CTO of AppHarvest, one of the leading pioneers in Agricultural Technology (or AgTech). Farming is one of the world's oldest industries, but in many ways the technologies and techniques used by farmers hasn't progressed much in centuries. But with recent advances in AI and robotics, AgTech looks certain to transform the entire industry. At AppHarvest, Josh is helping to build some of America's largest and most technologically advanced greenhouses. AppHarvest’s flagship greenhouse is located in Morehead, Kentucky, and spans 60 acres. This modern greenhouse will use “90% less water than traditional open-field agriculture.” The company's greenhouse, which currently focuses on growing fruit, has a central US location that's within a day’s drive of 70% of the U.S. population, allowing AppHarvest to reduce the amount of fuel consumed in transportation by 80%. Inside the Greenhouse you’ll find conventional agriculture techniques combined with the most advanced AI and Robotics technologies to grow non-GMO, chemical-free produce. Josh joined AppHarvest through the acquisition of his own company Root-AI earlier this year. In his conversation with our host, Pieter Abbeel, Josh describes how AppHarvest's flagship tomato-picking robot actually works, what the future of AI farming looks like, and why Morehead, Kentucky is a great place to visit if you want to see robots in action. What's in this episode? 00:00:00 - Introduction to Josh Lessing and AppHarvest 00:05:42 - How the robotic hand works with produce 00:08:54 - How convolutional neural networks play a role in picking 00:18:04 - Can AgTech lower the cost of healthy foods? 00:21:55 - How AI individualizes the care for each different type of fruit and vegetable 00:33:44 - Josh's path to working at AppHarvest 00:48:59 - What types of produce AppHarvest grows 00:53:21 - Future expansion plans 00:57:31 - Martha Stewart on the board of directors Links: Josh Lessing's Twitter: Company Website: Subscribe and listen to our podcast today: Spotify: Apple: Google: Host: Pieter Abbeel Executive Producers: Ricardo Reyes & Henry Tobias Jones Audio Production: Kieron Matthew Banerji. Video Production: Bo Obradovic.
Season 1 Ep. 20 Fei-Fei Li on revolutionizing AI for the real world

Season 1 Ep. 20 Fei-Fei Li on revolutionizing AI for the real world

On Ep.20 of The Robot Brains Podcast, Pieter Abbeel is joined by Fei-Fei Li. Her legendary status in the field of AI precedes her on our podcast because she's been discussed frequently by many of our previous guests - many of whom are her former students. She is the Sequoia Capital Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, Co-Director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence (Stanford HAI). She was also the leading scientist and instigator of ImageNet, arguably the most momentous episode in the history of AI which allowed vision systems and neural nets to break out of academia and into real industries all over the world. On the show we talk to Fei-Fei about her illustrious career in academia, her involvement in the ImageNet and AlexNet breakthroughs, and her new, deeply personal reasons for focusing her latest work on transforming healthcare with AI. What's in this episode: 00:00 Introductions 03:49 From the dry cleaners to AI 05:20 An education: Princeton, Physics and Academia 10:59 Fei-Fei's role in AlexNet/ImageNet 27:34 The 2012 Competition 40:17 A new journey into Healthcare AI 49:16 Ageing and Care with AI 51:38 Stanford HAI 55:00 AI and Public Policy 1:01:42 The US National AI Research Resource Taskforce 1:05:40 Is the US still a leader for AI academia? 1:07:43 The future of AI Links: Fei-Fei's Twitter: Fei-Fei's LinkedIn: Fei-Fei's Academic Profile: Fei-Fei's Wikipedia: Subscribe and listen to our podcast today: Spotify: Amazon: Acast: Google: Apple: Host: Pieter Abbeel Executive Producers: Ricardo Reyes & Henry Tobias Jones Audio Production: Kieron Matthew Banerji. Video Production: Bo Obradovic.
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