“AI teaches us who we are,” says Richard Socher. The recent rapid progress in the field of artificial intelligence is the result of successfully processing “a large amount of known training data, doing things [the computer] has seen before,” he says. Unlike humans, computers cannot create something new and unique.
Human creativity has been the driving force behind scientific and engineering advances, including making computers do more human-like activities such as identifying objects or words. Socher’s creativity, his ability to come up with new approaches to solving computers’ language and visual processing challenges, has made him a rising star of the deep learning movement that has spawned exciting new applications of artificial intelligence.
Deep learning has also spawned a number of emerging AI leaders and Richard Socher exemplifies their career trajectories and ambitions—advancing AI research as PhD candidates but not pursuing an academic career, starting companies and/or joining forces with established ones, all with a burning drive to make a big practical impact on the work and lives of as many people as possible.
“I always liked math and languages” says Socher. “Math is beautiful, abstract, it might be true in a thousand light years. Language is the most interesting manifestation of human intelligence, it’s what makes us most unique in the Animal Kingdom. Those two are best combined in linguistic computer science.”