Campus and Community

“Técnico was essential for my research”

These are the words of Pedro Domingos, author of “The Master Algorithm”, the book that Bill Gates recommends to anyone who wants to know more about artificial intelligence.

“Have you noticed that Amazon knows exactly which books you like to read? Isn’t it weird that Facebook and Twitter can guess the topics that you want to follow? Did you know that about one third of US marriages were decided by dating sites algorithms?” These were some of the examples given by Pedro Domingos on how learning algorithms increasingly influence our lives. The book “The Master Algorithm” was launched last Friday, October 6, at FNAC colombo and shows how machine learning is changing the world.

Professor Arlindo Oliveira, president of Técnico, attended the presentation session and pointed out that “machine learning will have a profound impact on society as we know it, affecting the entire social structure”. In practice, “machine learning makes computers learn from experience” he added. The book is a quest for the ultimate learning algorithm: one capable of discovering any knowledge from data. According to Pedro Domingos, machine learning can solve major problems such as finding a cure for cancer.

What was your motivation to write this book? “I felt that people should learn more about machine learning once it will impact jobs”, answers Pedro Domingos. “Apart from being able to read, write and solve math problems, we must understand how computers work, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning, because we will all coexist in the future”, says Pedro Domingos.

The professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington highlighted that the training he got from Técnico was very important for the research that he is carrying out. “I spent two years at Técnico as a teacher where I lectured machine learning even before it was taught in many countries around the world”, he recalls.

According to the author “artificial intelligence is very different from human intelligence, so there will be little danger that they take over the world”. “Artificial Intelligence will always be an instrument of the human being”, he concludes.