Episode 18: Demystifying AI (with Nisansa de Silva)

Joined by subject expert Nisansa de Silva, we bust some myths about AI and its applications, while exploring the challenges in AI development and the inevitable social, economic and political implications it poses.

Listen on YouTube


Nisansa de Silva

Nisansa de Silva is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Oregon. His research interests are in the area of Artificial Intelligence, specifically, in the sub-domains of; Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Data mining.

Nisansa is currently on study leave from his position of lecturer at the Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Moratuwa.

Nisansa is a polymath of sorts and has a wide range of interests including history, philosophy, linguistics, mythology, pop culture and classical music.

Nisansa is on Twitter at @NisansaDdS.

Listen to all our episodes with Nisansa →


Show Notes

Not only did Nisansa appear as our guest in this episode, he compiled the show notes that follow, making them the most comprehensive set of show notes we have ever had on the podcast to date. We’d like to thank him for being so generous with his time and knowledge.

  1. Artificial neural network: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network#History
  2. Artificial neuron: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neuron
  3. Perceptron: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perceptron
  4. Backpropagation: http://bit.ly/39qAdtO
  5. Hill-climbing (Note from Nisansa: This term was used for the benefit of non-computer science people in place of Gradient Descent. Computer science people, put your scythes away.) Refer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_climbing and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gradient_descent for the actual definitions.
  6. Example of neural network with a memory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_short-term_memory
  7. AGI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_general_intelligence
  8. Transfer learning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfer_learning
  9. Fuzzy Logic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_logic
  10. AIML: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIML
  11. Chinese Room: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room
  12. Expert system: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expert_system
  13. AI is just If-Else comics: https://i.imgur.com/UkpWru4.jpg https://external-preview.redd.it/gJ6PpMqv58ehrQywr473RhcMoXbx_39uUHp20PuFHB4.jpg?auto=webp&s=c81360a3db680ed726d2db80e01f2e6081757576 and https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-89cfa17ca63ddac683e04f0852336e47.webp
  14. Generalization in AI context: https://developers.google.com/machine-learning/crash-course/generalization/video-lecture
  15. Brain vs Computers (Slides 21,22)  http://bit.ly/2sBvKUm
  16. Google confirms ‘quantum supremacy’. Please note that at the time of recording, the news was brand new and we did not have much information about it. https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/23/20928294/google-quantum-supremacy-sycamore-computer-qubit-milestone
  17. How Far Are We From Achieving Artificial General Intelligence?: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/06/10/how-far-are-we-from-achieving-artificial-general-intelligence/#4d49a6de6dc4
  18. NP-hard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NP-hardness
  19. Travelling salesman problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem
  20. Reduction (complexity): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduction_(complexity)
  21. Here is a yet another reduction joke: https://www.reddit.com/r/Jokes/comments/1kid90/the_mathematicians_interview/
  22. AI-hard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AI-complete
  23. A more elaborate version of the mathematician vs the  engineer joke: https://www.reddit.com/r/Jokes/comments/2ijugj/a_mathematician_and_an_engineer_agree_to_a/
  24. Clarke’s three laws: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke%27s_three_laws (Note from Nisansa: I wrongly say it is the second law when in fact it is the first law.)
  25. Sentient:  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sentient
  26. Sapient: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sapient
  27. Anthropocentrism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropocentrism
  28. Neanderthal extinction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_extinction
  29. Examples of other alien cultures building robots in their image can be found in Mass Effect (https://masseffect.fandom.com/wiki/Reaper vs https://masseffect.fandom.com/wiki/Leviathan) and in Star Wars (https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Battle_droid vs https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Geonosian)
  30. Turing test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test
  31. Westworld: https://www.hbo.com/westworld
  32. Trolley problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem
  33. The Moral Machine experiment: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0637-6
  34. Why do all alternate universes have zeppelins: https://sententiaesite.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/why-do-all-alternate-universes-have-zeppelins/
  35. Hindenburg disaster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster
  36. Hierarchical clustering: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchical_clustering
  37. The Chinese room problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room
  38. Uncanny valley: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley 
  39. CATS – Official Trailer [HD] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtSd844cI7U 
  40. ‘The Lion King’ Official Trailer (2019) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Raf9bVk75s8
  41. Cats MusicalStage production example – Memory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-L6rEm0rnY
  42. Sophia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_(robot)
  43. OpenCog: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCog
  44. Ben Goertzel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Goertzel
  45. Ex Machina (film): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_Machina_(film)
  46. “Dial “F” for Frankenstein” by Arthur C. Clarke in “The Wind from the Sun”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_from_the_Sun
  47. SETI@home: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SETI@home
  48. BotNet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet
  49. Person of Interest (TV series): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_of_Interest_(TV_series)
  50. 2001: A Space Odyssey: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey
  51. Terminator: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminator_(franchise)
  52. Occam’s razor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor
  53. Mass Effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_Effect
  54. Star Wars Droids: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Droid
  55. L3-37 https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/L3-37 (Not from Nisansa: Another mistake by me.  L3-37 is not from Rouge-One. She is from Solo.)
  56. The Measure Of A Man (episode): https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/The_Measure_Of_A_Man_(episode)
  57. Author, Author (episode): https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Author%2C_Author_(episode)
  58. Hyperion Cantos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperion_Cantos
  59. Marvin the Paranoid Android: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_the_Paranoid_Android
  60. Gorilla uses SIGN LANGUAGE to tell zoo goers not to feed it: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5847241/Cheeky-monkey-Gorilla-uses-SIGN-LANGUAGE-tell-zoo-goers-not-feed-it.html
  61. Washoe (chimpanzee): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washoe_(chimpanzee)#Self-awareness_and_emotion 
  62. Chimp who ‘talked’ with sign language heartbreaking reaction to keeper’s miscarriage: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/chimp-who-talked-sign-language-14993695
  63. The Animatrix: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Animatrix
  64. The Naked Now (episode): https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/The_Naked_Now_(episode)
  65. Ship of Theseus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus
  66. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/117526-no-man-ever-steps-in-the-same-river-twice-for
  67. Krang: https://turtlepedia.fandom.com/wiki/Krang
  68. Moral nihilism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_nihilism
  69. To build a moral rocket: https://sententiaesite.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/to-build-a-moral-rocket/
  70. Victorian Hypocrisy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_morality
  71. “Kill all humans”: https://theinfosphere.org/Kill_all_humans
  72. Bender Bending Rodriguez: https://futurama.fandom.com/wiki/Bender_Bending_Rodr%C3%ADguez
  73. The Kobayashi Maru scenario: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Kobayashi_Maru_scenario
  74. Knocker uppers: Waking up the workers in industrial Britain: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-35840393
  75. Luddite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite
  76. Goldman Sachs analysis of autonomous vehicle job loss: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/22/goldman-sachs-analysis-of-autonomous-vehicle-job-loss.html
  77. Autonomous vehicles won’t only kill jobs. They will create them, too: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/10/autonomous-vehicles-are-creating-jobs-heres-where.html
  78. Turning Coal Miners Into Coders–And Preventing A Brain Drain: https://www.forbes.com/sites/annefield/2017/01/30/turning-coal-miners-into-coders-and-preventing-a-brain-drain/#639f3b0ff81d
  79. “Learn to Code”  meme origin: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/katienotopoulos/should-you-learn-to-code
  80. “Learn to Code”  meme: https://www.dailywire.com/news/heres-where-learn-code-meme-originated-hint-not-ashe-schow
  81. This Horrifying App Undresses a Photo of Any Woman With a Single Click: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/kzm59x/deepnude-app-creates-fake-nudes-of-any-woman
  82. Generative Adversarial Network (GAN): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_adversarial_network
  83. Prohibition in the United States: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_the_United_States
  84. How Prohibition Put the ‘Organized’ in Organized Crime: https://www.history.com/news/prohibition-organized-crime-al-capone
  85. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck, (Note from Nisansa: I mistakenly attribute this to Niels Bohr instead of Max Planck)
  86. [Westworld] Ford and Bernard “Mistakes”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hra3U_C56w
  87. Childhood’s End: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood%27s_End
  88. WALL-E: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WALL-E

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Support us on Patreon and get exclusive extras!

When you support us on Patreon, we’ll reward you with bonus content, transcripts for all episodes, AMAs and more!

Visit our Patreon Page

Leave a Reply