The Today Programme Featured Prince Harry, Barack Obama, Demis Hassabis, and Prince Charles

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    DEMIS HASSABIS

    Hassabis is the founder of DeepMind, an AI company. He explained to Prince Harry and the listeners what the “very ambitious mission statement” of his company is all about.

    “What we mean by solving intelligence is we are trying to create general purpose learning machines. So we’re trying to create systems that are capable of learning for themselves how to solve complex problems.

    “And we’re kind of inspired by human intelligence and the way the brain works. So the algorithms that we build are neuroscience inspired, and we’re trying to mimic some of the ways that the brain solves these complex problems. And what we hope is that if we solve intelligence and artificial intelligence in this very general way, we will be able to apply this technology to really wide range of domains.”

    He said that government regulators and the media are starting to get to grips with AI and potential of the technology: “I think that people have to realise technology isn’t neutral and when we create that technology it’s amazing the impact and the scale it can have because it’s digital and it’s easy to scale. But I think that people have started realising that we have to think ahead of time about problems that may collateral problems that you didn’t necessarily realise when you were starting to make the technology but you need to think harder about that at the beginning as you are making a technology not waiting for the problems to appear and then trying to run and catch up.”

    Hassabis also informed the prince why he is keeping DeepMind in the capital.

    “I’m a proud born and bred Londoner I love London and Britain, and I think that I have always believed that we have top talent here.

    “We have world-leading universities, and it just requires I think the ambition and the drive to actually really try and create a deep technology company like Deepmind. And I always felt it could be done in London. But I was told at the beginning when we were starting up that we were crazy and that we should go to Silicon Valley and that that was the only place that you could build these types of companies.”

    PRINCE CHARLES

    Prince Harry talked to his father regarding climate change, one of the favourite topics of the Prince of Wales, who admitted that he had “probably bored (Harry) to tears for so many years” regarding that very subject.

    According to Prince Charles, climate change, “whether we like it or not is the biggest threat multiplier we face.”

    “Because what’s happening now is what I was dreading which is that we are having to deal all the time with the symptoms that are springing up all round the world,” added Prince Charles.

    “They are diverting us off down all these different channels to try and deal with ghastly conflicts and humanitarian and natural disasters, and goodness knows what else. But at the root of it all, much of it is climate change which is causing untold horrors in different parts of the world, and of course, we sit here in this part of the world so often unaware of what is happening in Africa or the Far East.

    “It’s a miracle, I think, that everything is here. That’s why I have gone on about this because, to me, the unutterable tragedy, the inexcusable one, would be if we destroyed this quite remarkable planet and ecosystem. Because we depend on nature and the ecosystems for our entire survival. Nature is our sustainer.”