Are We Being Honest About How Difficult AI Really Is? with David Ferrucci

800 800 The TWIML AI Podcast (formerly This Week in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence)

Today we’re joined by David Ferrucci, Founder, CEO, and Chief Scientist at Elemental Cognition, a company focused on building natural learning systems that understand the world the way people do.

David, who also led the team that built the IBM Watson system that won on Jeopardy, poses the question: “Are we being honest about how difficult AI really is?” In our conversation, we discuss the role of “understanding” in the context of AI systems, and the types of commitments and investments needed to achieve even modest levels of understanding in these systems. David also shares his thoughts on the power of deep learning, what the path to AGI looks like, and the need for hybrid systems to get there.

Celebrate with us!

Today is a very special day! We’re celebrating the third (!!!) birthday of your favorite ML and AI podcast!

If you told me three years ago, when I was struggling to get that very first episode of This Week in Machine Learning and AI recorded and posted, that three years later I’d still be at it, that we’d be publishing two, three, four, or sometimes five shows a week, that I’d have interviewed well over 300 incredible ML and AI researchers and practitioners, that we’d have an amazing community of fans that engage and encourage us daily, that we’d help hundreds of people learn machine learning and deep learning through our volunteer-led study groups, that we’d hit FIVE MILLION DOWNLOADS on our THIRD BIRTHDAY (yes you heard that right, that just happened!)… Well, let’s just say that if you told me any of that, I’d have definitely thought you were crazy.

It’s been a truly amazing experience bringing you the podcast every week, and I’m more appreciative than ever of you, our listeners, and the amazing community we’ve built around the show. From the entire TWIML team, thank you and happy birthday!

With that said, we’d love to hear YOUR TWIML story! In our conversations with listeners over time, we’ve heard quite a few stories detailing what they’ve learned from the podcast, and how they’ve applied it to their own work, research, philosophy, and life. And now we want to hear from ALLLLLL of you! Leave a comment here or leave a voicemail at 1-636-735-3658‬, letting us know your favorite tidbit that you’ve been able to take from the podcast, and how you’ve applied that to what you do. Everyone who joins in will be sent a limited edition 3rd birthday TWIML sticker, and the best submissions have a chance to be featured in an upcoming episode of the show.

Join our Study Group!

For the next four weeks, starting May 25th, we’ll be diving head first into Pieter Abbeel’s Full Stack Deep Learning course. This course is a great complement to the courses we’ve done so far and covers practical topics like problem formulation, data acquisition and preparation, establishing the right frameworks, platforms and compute infrastructure, debugging and ensuring reproducibility, and deploying and scaling your models.

For more information, or to register for this study group, visit

We can’t thank our volunteer study group hosts enough for all their hard work. A huge shout out to Michael, Christian, Kai, Sanyam, Joseph, Dinesh and everyone else that’s been involved in making this group happen.

About David

From the Interview

“More On That Later” by Lee Rosevere licensed under CC By 4.0

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