KDnuggets : News : 2007 : n09 : item6 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

Features

From: Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro
Subject: Simon Funk: next 10 years and building a truly sentient machine

GPS: 6) If you win the Netflix prize, what will it enable you to do?

Simon Funk: I feel like one of those lottery winners in saying this, but: I'd just keep doing what I'm already doing, but with a bigger buffer. Even with all the traveling I do, by the end of the year my budget typically adds up to about $15K. If you work one year in the bay area as a software engineer and save wisely, you're looking at two or three years off. If you spend those years continuing to work just as hard for yourself as you would have for someone else... Eventually you'll have something to sell or at least apply as a consultant and it becomes a self-sustaining cycle of gainful unemployment -- much like being employed but where you're working on exactly what you want most of the time. In a sense, I hope someone else wins on the off chance that it increases the ranks of AI entrepreneurs.

GPS: 7) What other interesting projects you would like to do? What would you like to achieve in 10 years?

Simon Funk: Most of my work is spiraling in on building a truly sentient machine. That's the main thing I hope to see happen within my lifetime, and I'm doing whatever I can to nudge it along. That pursuit inevitably spawns a lot of fun side projects, like the Netflix thing. I'm also working on a web site of sorts that incorporates AI behind the scenes in some unexpected places (besides the obvious collaborative filtering), and a new programming language/paradigm that tries to map more closely to how we humans think about and communicate problems and goals.

More centrally, I'm working on a model of human vision and potentially image synthesis--take the same process that allows you to close your eyes and imagine a scene, and add a "save as jpeg" feature. I definitely have more goals than there are hours in the day (the hardest part is to choose few enough that they stand a chance to get done), so I'm always looking for like-minded collaborators...

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KDnuggets : News : 2007 : n09 : item6 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

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