This interview was recorded on June 28, 2017
Since age 15 or so, the main goal of professor Jürgen Schmidhuber has been to build a self-improving Artificial Intelligence smarter than himself, then retire. His lab’s Deep Learning Neural Networks and Long Short-Term Memory have transformed machine learning and AI, and are now available to billions of users through the world’s most valuable public companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.
In 2011, Prof. Schmidhuber’s team was the first to win official computer vision contests through deep neural networks, with superhuman performance. His research group also established the field of mathematically rigorous universal AI and recursive self-improvement in universal problem solvers that learn to learn.
He believes that his formal theory of creativity & curiosity & fun explains art, science, music, and humor. He also generalized algorithmic information theory and the many-worlds theory of physics, and introduced the concept of Low-Complexity Art, the information age’s extreme form of minimal art. He is recipient of numerous awards, and president of the company NNAISENSE, which aims at building the first practical general purpose AI.
Prof. Schmidhuber argues that history may be converging to what Teilhard de Chardin called in 1916 the Omega Point. Prof. Schmidhuber says he prefers the term Omega Point to the technological singularity because it sounds like “Oh my God!” He says that “historic developments (that is, the subjects of major chapters in many history textbooks) match a binary scale marking exponentially declining temporal intervals, each half the size of the previous one and equal to a power of 2 times a human lifetime (roughly 80 years – throughout recorded history many individuals have reached this age).” He believes this process will converge at the Omega Point around the year 2040.