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In March 2016, a quite milestone passed for humanity. AlphaGo, an AI system developed by Google’s DeepMind, defeated Lee Se-dol, the best GO player in the world. After game two, Lee said he felt “speechless.” The ancient Chinese game is considered the most complex game ever devised by humans—it has more possible configurations than atoms in the universe. “I misjudged the capabilities of AlphaGo and felt powerless,” Lee confessed. During the game, AlphaGo applied deep learning throught neural networks—like the brain, it taught itself to play and improved through examples and experience. How is this different than being human? Lee stated that “robots will never understand the beauty of [GO] the same way that we humans do”… but this may be up for debate. For our concluding Polymathic Pizza session of the spring 2020 series, we will discuss what makes us authentically human and how AI might be gaining ground.
Richard Lemarchand, Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts
An Associate Professor in the Interactive Media Division of the School of Cinematic Arts, Richard Lemarchand is a game designer, a writer, a public speaker and a consultant. Between 2004 and 2012, Richard was a Lead Game Designer at Naughty Dog in Santa Monica, California. He led the design of all three games in the Uncharted series including Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, winner of ten AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards, five Game Developers Choice Awards, four BAFTAs and over 200 Game of the Year awards. Richard also worked on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Jak 3 and Jak X: Combat Racing for Naughty Dog, and helped to create the successful game series Gex, Pandemonium and Soul Reaver at Crystal Dynamics in the San Francisco Bay Area. He got his game industry start at MicroProse in the UK, where he co-founded the company’s console game division. Richard has made storytelling action games the focus of his career, and he is interested in the way that narrative, aesthetics and gameplay work together to hold a player’s attention and facilitate the expression of their agency. A passionate advocate of indie and experimental games, Richard has been involved with the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games for several years, and was the co-chair of the IndieCade Conference in 2010, 2012 and 2015. He has a degree in Physics and Philosophy from Oxford University.
Kadri Vihvelin, Professor of Philosophy
Kadri Vihvelin is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. Professor Vihvelin's research is focused on topics in metaphysics and ethics, especially free will and the theory of action, time travel, causation, counterfactuals, dispositions, moral responsibility, and the doing/allowing distinction.