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Posted By Peter Bentley

I'm asked to comment about various stories that apear in the media, and recently I had a very brief appearance on ITV News again. This time AI in the form of a fictional home assistant as depicted by a certain CEO of Facebook got the media in a stir. Clearly it's time I also started hiring movie stars to be the voice of my AIs - Morgan Freeman makes a great robot voice, but who should we use? 

ITV interview

Posted By Peter Bentley

Today we have a story in The Economist describing the work of one of my PhD students Haitham Baomar. The research focuses on the use of multiple neural networks for the control of aircraft. Unlike methods such as Deep Learning which are more suitable for vision-based classification tasks, this approach breaks the problem of flying aircraft under difficult conditions into smaller components, with a different neural circuit focussing on each aspect. It's a very effective method that learns the skills directly from human pilots. It's very fast to learn, and it's also much more suitable for safety-critical applications compared to black box methods such as Deep Learning, for it can be shown very clearly how each neural circuit controls each component. I'm always amazed how well the intelligent autopilot works. I have fun turning it off and putting the (simulated) aircraft into a nosedive in a storm with an engine fire - then activiting the intelligent autopilot, which immediately brings the plane under control and performs all necessary procedures. I'd trust this system long before I'd trust an autonomous car today.

Check out the article here. And Haitham's research page here.

Intelligent Autopilot

Posted By Peter Bentley

AI is becoming very fashionable again and I'm being asked to appear on various documentaries and news items. Not so long ago AP filmed a piece about robots in sports with me. More recently I was interviewed for Inside Science on AI.

inside science


Posted By Peter Bentley

While I may not always mention it, I have been a regular writer for BBC Focus Magazine for quite a while. You can find my little articles in the Q&A section every month, where I answer readers' questions relating to computers and technology. (You tell they're mine if they end with a "PB".) If you keep a look out, you will also see some longer articles on AI that I have been commissioned to write more recently.

BBC Focus article

Posted By Peter Bentley

On Thursday 10 December I gave an invited lecture at the Royal Institution for the event Relax, It's Only AI: How Artificial Intelligence will Improve Our Lives. I was invited by the AI company Braintree Ltd to help explain the benefits of AI to an audience of business leaders. It still amazes me how many people - who should know better - are proclaiming that AI might one day be some kind of threat to humanity. There are some extremely good reasons why AI is not going to be a threat to us - not least because for the foreseeable future (i.e. hundreds or thousands of years) our AI systems will be exactly what they have always been - nice tech that does useful things. We don't know how to make anything else, and we'd need astonishing breakthroughs in neuroscience before that changes. Even with such breakthroughs, intelligence takes a long, long time to develop, train and test. It's not happening soon, folks. Indeed, there are some very pressing issues such as climate change and human conflict that should be considered the greatest threats to human existance. (And anyone who says anything else has ulterior motives that should be examined.)

The reality is that AI is simply clever software that is helping to make our technology and lives safer - and also providing business with some very interesting new opportunities in data analytics.

RI talk 2

RI talk 1