On September 11, 2017, the Deming Center at Columbia Business School partnered with the School for Engineering and Applied Science to host an event on Artificial Intelligence just for the children of faculty, staff and friends of the Center. More than 50 kids ages 6 to 16 gathered to hear Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Creative Machines Lab Hod Lipson speak to the past, present and future of AI.
Impressing on them that their lives would be profoundly impacted by advances in AI and Machine Learning, Professor Lipson took the children on a journey through the history of the field, bringing them up to speed on the incredible advances of the last 50 years. He then explored all of the ways in which AI is being used today from simply playing a game of Tic Tac Toe and painting portraits to diagnosing diseases and synthesizing the vast amounts of data being generated by computers, algorithms and images that affect our daily lives. They then turned their attention to all of the ways in which AI would permeate their lives in the near future from driverless cars to robotic traffic police.
The children asked creative, probing questions throughout compelling the adults in the room to think outside-of-the-box and consider the deep nuances their questions asked. From 6-year old Aziz who was curious as to whether Artificial Intelligence can exist in water to 12-year old Christina’s question about how AI will affect terrorism and war in the future, children and parents alike were left with a sense of wonder and excitement about the future.
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