Experts Pick Their Dream AI Panel

6 min readOct 19, 2020

Our expert-led blog series continues, with a new four-part edition, kicking off with finding out what our group of AI experts would see as their dream summit panel. Included are experts from MILA, Gartner, Google and more.

Alexia Jolicoeur-Martineau, PhD Researcher, MILA

Alexia chose the following for her dream summit panel: Firstly, Ian Goodfellow for his work on Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) and adversarial examples(a big vulnerability in neural networks). Joining after was Anima Anandkumar for her work on Competitive Descent and Non-convex Optimization. The third addition, Tero Karras, for his work on Progressive growing of GANs and Style-based generators. Finally, Fei-Fei Li was added to the lineup for her work on ImageNet (the biggest categorized image dataset at the time and still a major benchmark for generative models), Robotics, and neuroscience applications.

Andriy Burkov, Director of Data Science, Gartner

Andriy’s dream summit panel started with Peter Norvig, mainly due to the fact that he was not only doing AI before it was cool, but also as he’s a great educator and an extremely nice person to talk to. The second addition to Andriy’s panel was Cassie Kozyrkov due to her being highly knowledgeable, original, and influential, recognised as a rising star of AI popularization. Next was a household name, Geoffrey Hinton, “he’s a pioneer of modern machine learning and is still advancing the field” Andriy said. The final addition to his panel was Andrej Karpathy, as he’s the one responsible for Tesla’s autopilot program.

Abhishek Gupta, Founder, Montreal AI Ethics Institute

My dream panel on AI would bring together Douglas Eck (from Google Magenta), Catherine D’Ignazio (from the MIT Data + Feminism Lab), Zachary Chase Lipton (from CMU), and Os Keyes (from University of Washington). They are all very interesting individuals not just because of the technical work that they do but the unique lenses that they apply to the field. They are also remarkably witty and not hesitant in calling out the shortcomings of the field where they see them. One of the things that I admire about all of them is their relentless pursuit in reimagining what the field is capable of while situating them in the pragmatics of the impacts that they have on people and society. Creativity intersecting with the technical sciences while discussing the ethics and responsibilities of practitioners and researchers is something that this dream panel would be able to do quite well. The collision of their intellect will yield a unique experience for all those who have the opportunity to hear them interact with each other.

Alireza Fathi, Senior Research Scientist, Google

First up, Jitendra Malik, chosen as he is the most outstanding and influential leader in the computer vision field. Many key figures in the field have been Jitendra’s students or students of his students. Geoffrey Hinton was next as he is the top leader in Deep Learning, Turing Award Winner and one of the main reasons why AI is thriving today. Next choice? Jeff Dean, a legend in the computer industry as he has led various impactful projects such as BigTable, MapReduce, LevelDB and Tensorflow. Jeff is currently the head of Google AI where he oversees various orgs including Brain, Vision, NLP, Health, and other research teams. The final addition to Alireza’s panel is John Platt, a very well known name in AI who is currently leading the Applied Science Org at Google Research where they are working on a lot of futuristic and impactful topics such as quantum computing, AI for social good, climate change, energy, etc.

Jeff Clune, Research Team Leader, OpenAI

We had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff earlier this year, asking him as many quick fire questions as we could in a minute. One of the questions, quite aptly, was his dream AI panel. His choices included Geoff Hinton, a pioneer of AI and someone who continues to push the boundaries of science, fellow thought-leader Yoshua Bengio, Zoubin Ghahramani and Ken Stanley, who Jeff also cited as someone in the industry which had acted as a mentor to him throughout his career.

Kavita Ganesan, AI Advisor, Opinosis Analytics

Kavita’s panel differed slightly from those above, picking Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page.

These four people think that AI has serious promise for changing the way we have typically done things. But at the same time, Gates, Musk, and Bezos think AI is also extremely dangerous. In a Stanford keynote, Bill Gates says that “AI is like nuclear weapons and nuclear energy in danger and promise”. Elon Musk has repeatedly said that he thinks artificial intelligence poses a threat to humanity. Recently Musk said that “We’re headed toward a situation where AI is vastly smarter than humans and I think that time frame is less than five years from now”. Bezos thinks AI is capable of creating autonomous weapons.

Hearing their perspective on why they think AI is dangerous would be interesting to me, as I see AI as a practical business tool. Having Larry Page, the co-founder of Google in the mix is to play devil’s advocate as he has a more balanced perspective on AI. Being from the trenches, I know that we’re really not at that stage where AI can outsmart humans in a general sense. AI can outsmart humans on specific tasks — yes, they can be used for unethical things — yes, but taking over the world? Not so sure about that! But I’d like to hear what these leaders have to say!

Interested in hearing more from AI experts? The Deep Learning 2.o Virtual Summit is taking place in January, bringing together over 50 experts for 2 daysof presentations and interactive networking. See more here.




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