Browse Month: January 2018

An interview with Mr. Patrick van der Smagt – A man who loves to see connections through research fields!

 

At the Second Workshop on Brain, Computation, and Learning (BCL) at Indian Institute of Science, we got a chance to interact with some of the leading minds in the field of Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence. We interviewed few of them. One such humble person was Mr. Patric van der Smagt, Director of fundamental AI research at Volkswagen group. Currently residing in Munich Area, Germany, he is also a Chairman of the board of directors of Assistenzrobotik eV, a non-for-profit organisation for assistive robotics to help people. Being an enthusiastic professor in the past and head of several divisions, it was quite a fun to have an informal interview with him. Despite being a viewing generation (than reading), I hope you would love to have a read at following!


 

As an A.I. director of Volkswagen and being in this area of Artificial Intelligence for a while now, could you clear us what is a bigger challenge, finding a problem or finding a solution?

I am not involved in finding problems, I am only looking at solutions. I know it sounds funny but for me that is the difference between fundamental research and applied research. Like in applied research, somebody has a problem, he/she comes to see you and you say ‘Oh, I need bigger computer, tons of engineers and scientists and I have two years in hand to solve the problem’.  In fundamental research, nobody comes to you and you say to yourself that, I have this silly idea and I am going to implement it and see what it does and half of the time nice things come out (and somebody can indeed use that). Advantage of being in a company like Volkswagen compared to a university, finding a problem to research on is always quite easy. Versus in University, you try to find solutions but nobody has a problem for you.

Do you think by looking at current progress of AI that at some point of time in future it will be capable enough to solve the major problems as Global Warming and Economic Bubbles?

Given an infinite amount of time, yes!

Ha Ha Ha. Cool! Lot of people lack the proper understanding of AI, they overestimate the stuff. So, from your experience, how can someone manage the expectations of what’s possible with AI and what’s realistic?

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She wrote down a beautiful message for us – the people buried under screens!

Holly Butcher, an Australian woman, left us on the morning of 4th of this month. At mere age of 27, she has found something important which we just aspire to search for. She had a rare form of cancer, and just a day before leaving the earth she penned down a powerful letter for all of us. I just happened to come across that post. It touched me somewhere and left me humble and teary for a while. Re-posting it for you guys.


By no means, I own the rights or wanna take credit for this post. Just felt like sharing it 🙂


 

A bit of life advice from Hol:

It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

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