Three ‘Godfathers of AI’ Win the Annual Turing Award
Science, Tech

Three ‘Godfathers of AI’ Win the Annual Turing Award 

Last updated on March 28th, 2019

This year’s Turing Award has been awarded to three computer scientists, famously known as the “godfathers of AI”. Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun will be sharing the Nobel Prize for Computing, given by the Association for Computing Machinery. The award comes along with a $1 million prize funded by Google.

The Association for Computing Machinery’s President Cherri Pancake said, “Artificial intelligence is now one of the fastest-growing areas in all of science and one of the most talked-about topics in society.”

The Turing Award recognises the crucial role of artificial intelligence in redefining human relationship with technology in the future.

The three scientists have known each other for almost 30 years, but have mostly worked separately on neural networks technology. Neural networks play an important role in robotic systems that automate various day-to-day human activities. These electronic engines help in performing tasks like facial or speech recognition.

Hinton said that their belief in the power of neural networks was once a joke for their friends and colleagues. At present, he is working as vice president at Google. On the other hand, LeCun is Facebook’s chief AI scientist and Bengio is a professor at the University of Montreal. Bengio has previously served as a scientific director at the Artificial Intelligence Institute in Quebec.

In an interview Hinton said, “For a long time, people thought what the three of us were doing was nonsense. They thought we were very misguided and what we were doing was a very surprising thing for apparently intelligent people to waste their time on. My message to young researchers is, don’t be put off if everyone tells you what are doing is silly.”

While the three winners of the Turing Award shared some of the concerns that come along with the revolution of AI, including the human dependency on machines and weapons that can lead to destruction, they were more optimistic and hopeful about the empowerment that would be brought in by the revolution – like warnings about weather, detecting health risks etc.

“One thing is very clear, the techniques that we developed can be used for an enormous amount of good affecting hundreds of millions of people,” Hinton added.

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