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Event Focuses on Artificial Intelligence History, Debates

September 29, 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become part of people's daily lives. From facial recognition to smart assistants and self-driving cars, it's difficult to not be impacted by AI at work, school and home.

An event on Monday, Oct. 3, will take a look at the history of AI, the primary approaches used today and debates over whether society is on the cusp of an artificial "superintelligence" that could threaten human life.

Melanie Mitchell, the Davis Professor of Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute, will lead the talk. She was invited to campus after UC Merced's Department of Cognitive and Information Sciences selected her to receive the Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award.

Her current research focuses on conceptual abstraction, analogy-making and visual recognition in AI systems. She is the author or editor of six books and numerus scholarly papers in the fields of AI, cognitive science and complex systems.

Mitchell will discuss fallacies in common assumptions made by AI researchers, which she said can lead to overconfident predictions about the field. She will also speculate on what is needed to make AI systems more robust, general and adaptable. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Organizers hope the talk will lead to a greater understanding of the AI people interact with daily to empower them to evaluate claims about the capabilities of this increasingly influential and pervasive technology.

"Why AI Is Harder Than We Think" will take place from 3:30-5 p.m. at UC Merced's Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in attending is asked to register online.