Neil Jacobstein

Neil Jacobstein


Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

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Areas of Expertise

Artificial Intelligence  •  Exponentials  •  Policy  •   Law  •   Ethics  •  Robotics

About Neil

Neil Jacobstein chairs the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track at Singularity University on the NASA Research Park campus in Mountain View, California. Neil is a former President of Singularity University. Jacobstein is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Stanford University Media X Program, where his research focuses on augmented decision systems. He Chaired AAAI’s 17th Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference, and continues to review technical papers for IAAI. In 2016, he became a founding member of the editorial board of AAAS Science Robotics.

Neil has served as a technical consultant on AI research and development projects for DARPA, NSF, NASA, NIH, EPA, DOE, the U.S. Army and Air Force, GM, Ford, Boeing, Applied Materials, NIST, and other agencies. He was CEO of Teknowledge Corporation, a pioneering AI company, where he worked on AI applications systems for industry and government. He worked as a graduate research intern in Alan Kay’s Learning Research Group at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and was a consultant in PARC’s Software Concepts Group.

Jacobstein is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He has moderated Aspen Institute Socrates Programs on the technical and ethical implications of advanced technologies, and he coaches Socrates moderators. Neil is deeply interdisciplinary, and has a keen sense of how the arts and sciences can integrate. Since 1992, he has served as Chairman of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, a 501c3 nanotechnology R&D organization.

Jacobstein contributed to the 2005 National Academy of Sciences workshop on the feasibility of molecular manufacturing, and the 2007 Foresight Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems. He is the primary author of the Foresight Guidelines for the responsible development of nanotechnology. Neil is in demand as an engaging speaker who can make complex topics clear to diverse audiences. He has given invited talks worldwide on the technical, business, and ethical implications of exponential technologies such as AI, robotics, and atomically precise manufacturing. He is a member of AAAS, AAAI, IEEE, and ACM. Neil has served in a variety of executive and technical advisory roles for industry, nonprofit, and government organizations.

Machine Learning | Exponential Manufacturing

Artificial Intelligence | Exponential Manufacturing

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Foundation In Exponentials - AI | Global Summit 2018

Speaking Topics

  • AI and Robotics -- from a Robotics perspective

    A tsunami wave of invention is occurring in robotics, enabled by inexpensive sensors and control systems. Robots have moved out of traditional industrial manufacturing, assembly, and painting jobs, and into hospitals, roads, aerial vehicles, small businesses, and the home. Robots can already see, hear, feel, smell, touch, manipulate objects, walk, run, jump, dance, talk and do both macroscale and nanoscale work. However, they don’t yet have a deep understanding of natural language or emotion. They don’t exhibit human level intelligence, but can demonstrate complex skills, such as the ability to drive in city and highway traffic, do some kinds of surgery, play soccer, and do security surveillance.
    How are robots used today in everyday life? When will robots as personal assistants and household servants become mainstream? What are the ultimate roles for robots? Will there be a day when humans will not have to do unwanted labor, and everyone has a robot companion that responds to their needs? What are the positive and negative aspects of these developments?

    Neil uses examples of today’s robots along with concepts of more advanced robots in development to discusses these topics from the perspective of accelerating technology and the impact of the robot revolution on occupations and society.

  • Artificial Intelligence & Augmenting Human Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a future possibility, it is here now, and in use all around us. This talk covers what AI is; current research results in AI; AI applications and businesses; future directions of the technology; and its business, technical, and ethical implications. Neil provides the rationale and technology context for augmenting our brains and other systems with artificial intelligence. He explains what augmentation is, why it matters, and where it is headed. AI and augmentation are not just future possibilities. Neil provides many excellent examples of artificial intelligence and augmentation applications in action – embedded in the fabric of our everyday lives. Neil shares his expertise and passion for augmentation and AI, and how it can be used with other exponential technologies to solve global grand challenges. Finally, the talk addresses the mathematical, ecological, and ethical literacy necessary as a foundation to use this powerful technology responsibly.

  • Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

    Explore how artificial intelligence and robotics are advancing exponentially as increasing computing power, sensors and web scale data allow smart machines to be mobile and more intelligent. This talk discusses the major developments in artificial intelligence and robotics, including robots in manufacturing, robotic surgery, autonomous vehicles, drones, personal robot assistants, and revolutionary biotech automation. It includes the major opportunities and implications for a wide variety of industries and entrepreneurial startups. The talk also addresses how new breakthroughs and innovations in automation are expected to transform the generation and distribution of wealth and jobs over the coming years.

  • Exponentials on Trial

    All technologies have positive and negative ethical implications. Participants are presented with real-world scenarios involving exponential technologies they have learned about during the week. Taking the roles of “prosecution” and “defense”, participants analyze the scenarios and present their cases framing the crime, who is responsible, what outcomes they recommend to the Court of Singularity University, and what long term recommendations they have for specific changes to the legal system.

  • Implications of AI & Robotics Workshop

    Dive into some of the deeper technical, business, and ethical questions behind the AI & Robotics revolution. Where are these technologies going, and what are their business, technical, and ethical implications? Who is at fault if a robot goes off program and commits a crime? Should companies be held accountable if an AI takes actions on the web that result in harm? Can an AI ever become conscious? Questions like these and more will form the core of this participant driven discussion.

  • Nanotechnology: Programming Bits and Molecules

    Nanotechnology is more than just exploiting the extraordinary properties of materials at scales under 100 nanometers or billionths of a meter. The larger opportunity is atomically precise manufacturing, and scalable molecular robotics, which is technically feasible, but still a future prospect. This talk describes visually and clearly the technical foundations for programming molecular robotics and atomically precise manufacturing. It gives many examples of the precursor devices which have already been demonstrated in the laboratory. Neil is extremely articulate about the future prospects for nanotechnology. He predicts that “Nanotechnology will alter our relationship with molecules and matter like the computer altered our relationship with bits and information. Specifically, it will enable the inexpensive and ubiquitous control of molecules and matter.” Neil discusses the technical, business, environmental, and ethical implications of nanotechnology in ways that are engaging to technical people, and accessible to people who are beginners in science and technology.

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