Dr. Clément Farabet Dr. Clément Farabet, Vice President at Google DeepMind

In this season of Theory and Practice, we explore newly emerging human-like artificial intelligence and robots — and how we can learn as much about ourselves, as humans, as we do about the machines we use. As we near the end of Season 4, we explore whether decision-making and judgment are still the final preserve of humans.

Our guest for Episode 7 is Dr. Clément Farabet, VP of Research at Google DeepMind. For the past 15 years, Dr. Farabet’s work has been guided by a central mission: figuring out how to build AI systems that can learn on their own — and ultimately redefine how we write software. We discuss the conundrum in the Chinese Room Argument to explore whether computers can achieve artificial general intelligence.

Dr. Farabet outlines four modules required for computers to demonstrate understanding. These modules include a predictive model of a computer’s environment that can create a representation of its world and an ability to store memories. He also points to the ability to perform reasoning about possible futures from its representation and memories. And finally, Dr. Farabet explains how the ability to act in the world is key to illustrating understanding.

Dr. Fabaret believes that we can build computers to become more human-like than most people may realize, but the overarching goal should be to build systems that improve human life. He observes, “I think we want to have certain dimensions where [machines] do get much better than us — for instance, if a machine could help us get much more creative in solving cancer, that would be amazing. For that you need to create something that’s human-like in some aspects.”

Listen to Episode 7 today on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, and thanks for listening.