Going Data Driven
A lecture in the Distinguished Lecture Series
Computers can now do things that their programmers cannot explain or understand: today's Artificial Intelligence has found a way to bypass the need for understanding a phenomenon before we can replicate it in a computer.
The technology that made this possible is called machine learning: a method to program computers by showing them examples of the desired behaviour. And the fuel that powers it all is DATA. Lots of it.
For this reason, data has been called the new oil: a new natural resource, that businesses and scientists alike can leverage, by feeding it to massive learning computers to do things that we do not understand well enough to implement them with a traditional program.
This new way of working is all about predicting, not explaining. It is about knowing what a new drug will do to a patient, not why.
But: was not science meant to help us make sense of the world? Or is it just meant to deliver good predictions? And let us remember that the fuel that powers this revolution is very often our own personal data, and that we still do not have a clear cultural framework to think about this.
Pizza and beer will be available after the lecture in the Puglsey Lecture Theatre Foyer.
Nello Cristianini is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Intelligent Systems Laboratory of the University, and his current research involves technical and philosophical questions arising from the Big Data revolution. He is the co-author of three popular books in machine learning and bioinformatics, and a recipient of the Royal Society Research Merit Award and of a ERC advanced grant.