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Conversations on Artificial Intelligence

You're invited to this special online series for the Caltech community and the public.

Since the 1950s, scientists and engineers have endeavored to design computers that "think," machines that can make decisions and find patterns in data the same way humans do. In more recent years, through the rise of artificial intelligence, the ability of computers to mimic human thought has become increasingly powerful and prevalent. Today, AI propels discovery across scientific fields, enables researchers to delve into problems previously too complex to solve, and drives much of our digital lives.

But where is the line between what machines can achieve and what remains science fiction? How is that line blurring, and what is the future of artificial intelligence? At Caltech, researchers work at the leading edge of AI to expand its capabilities and examine its impacts on society.

In Conversations on Artificial Intelligence, a webinar series hosted by the Caltech Science Exchange, you will hear directly from Caltech researchers and have the opportunity to ask your own questions.

Past Webinars

Machine Learning for Conservation
APRIL 24, 2023, 11 a.m. PT
Read the Q&A
Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering
Suzanne Stathatos, Graduate Student, Computing and Mathematical Sciences
in conversation with
Robert Perkins, Senior Media Relations Manager, Office of Strategic Communications

Earth is quickly losing its biodiversity: One million plant and animal species are under threat of extinction, according to the United Nations. To better assess the problem of biodiversity loss and what to do about it, ecologists and field biologists need access to accurate observation data on more species in more parts of the globe. That's where artificial intelligence researchers like Caltech professor Pietro Perona and graduate student Suzanne Stathatos can help.

"It is simply not possible to keep collecting and analyzing data by hand. AI can help scale up from a few chosen spots to the whole planet, process the data faster, and handle data from a more diverse suite of sensors," says Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering and a leader in the field of computer vision.

In this conversation, Perona and Stathatos will discuss the AI methods they have developed to more effectively monitor species, from salmon to birds to mountain lions. Their data uncovers information about complex ecosystems, human impact on biodiversity, and the effects of climate change on nature. Join the conversation to ask your own questions and discover how you can participate in this work using your smartphone.

The Future of Personalized Medicine
MARCH 10, 2023, 11 a.m. PT
Read the Q&A
Azita Emami, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering
in conversation with
Robert Perkins, Content and Media Strategist, Office of Strategic Communications

Increasingly sophisticated and powerful, artificial intelligence has the potential to usher in a new era of precision, or personalized, medicine. AI-powered medical interventions could improve diagnosis and treatment by sensing, analyzing, and responding to the data our bodies generate through brain signals, sweat, and more.

In the next conversation in this series, electrical and medical engineer Azita Emami (Caltech's Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering) will discuss how her lab incorporates AI into medical devices to improve health and enhance quality of life. The conversation will focus on early seizure detection and a brain-machine interface that people who are paralyzed can use to move robotic limbs or operate computers using only their intentions.

Combating Misinformation Online
OCTOBER 18, 2022, 11 a.m. PT
Read the Q&A
Michael Alvarez, Professor of Political and Computational Social Science
Anima Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
in conversation with
Robert Perkins, Content and Media Strategist, Office of Strategic Communications

The 2022 Midterm Election season is dominating news cycles, and so is discussion of election-related misinformation and disinformation. Computer scientist Anima Anandkumar and election scientist Michael Alvarez are tackling this thorny problem using the power of AI.

In this conversation, Alvarez and Anandkumar will discuss how machine learning can identify and prevent online harassment, as well as how it can help uncover the spread of disinformation on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Learn about their methods and how the tools they are creating can lead to a more trustworthy social media ecosystem.

This series is presented by the Caltech Science Exchange, which brings expert insight to the scientific questions that define our time. The Caltech Science Exchange offers trustworthy answers, clear explanations, and fact-driven conversation on critical topics in science and technology.