The 2018 Turing Award, acknowledged as the “Nobel Prize of computing” has been awarded to a trio of researchers who have set the foundations for the current success in artificial intelligence.
The term artificial intelligence merely refers to the intelligence that is demonstrated by the computers. Artificial intelligence is renowned for its cycles of boom and bust, and the issue of hype is as old as the field itself. When the research fails to meet the inflated expectations, it generates a freeze in the funding and interest known as an “AI winter”. It was at the tail end of one such winter in the late 1980s that Bengio, Hinton, and LeCun began exchanging ideas and working on interconnected problems. These included neural networks. They are computer programs made from connected digital neurons that have become a key building block for contemporary and modern AI.
Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun, who are often referred to as the ‘godfathers of AI’ have been recognized with the $1 million annual prize for their work evolving the AI subfield of deep learning. The techniques the trio developed in the 1990s and 2000s assisted huge breakthroughs in tasks like computer vision and speech recognition. Their work fortifies the current proliferation of AI technologies, from self-driving cars to automated medical diagnoses.
All three have ever since taken up prominent places in the Artificial intelligence research ecosystem, by straddling with the academic world and the tech industry. Hinton splits his time between Google and the University of Toronto; Bengio is an associate professor at the University of Montreal and has started an AI company called Element AI, while LeCun is Facebook’s chief AI scientist and an instructor and professor at NYU.
Google’s head of AI, Jeff Dean also praised the trio’s achievements. “Deep neural networks are accountable for some of the greatest advances in modern computer science,” said Dean in a statement.
Let us hope that people like this trio improve AI and all of us use AI in the right way. Tell us your view on AI and what do you think about the future of AI with a quick comment.