Artificial Intelligence with Led Fridman: Siraj Raval: School of AI and Online Education

Full podcast here

  • You are one of the most unapologetically unique personalities in the AI community. You openly and publicly are searching for yourself and trying to define who you are as a person. Many people are afraid to put themselves out their in the face of criticism and scrutiny. How do you deal with criticism? When I first started it hurt. I got mostly negative feedback. I kept going despite that because I feel this field [AI] is more significant than me. I want people to understand how important this technology is. [1:45] 

  • If you keep putting out value to society you will eventually have more lovers than haters. The lovers outweigh the haters. [4:49]

  • My upbringing was conservative. Do what you are told. Don’t question things too much. Get a stable job. Go to a really good college. Get a full ride because we won’t pay for your college. [5:48]

  • I didn’t like my ethnicity. I changed my name to Jason. I wore green contacts. I told people I was half Brazilian. I felt like I wanted to be something else. I wanted to reinvent myself. [8:34]

  • Goal for The School of AI: The hope is to create an accredited university. [12:47] 

  • You made raps about AI: I know it is weird but I am used to being abnormal. I had a chip on my shoulder to bring my abnormal reality into the mainstream. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ll only be here for 100 years. Let’s just see what happens. [21:18]

  • I’m a slave to the YouTube algorithm. Other YouTubers have faced similar issues. It’s part of the reason so many top YouTubers are burning out - the algorithm doesn’t allow you to take a break. Either you keep submitting content at the pace you have or we’ll stop sending new subscribers your way. [30:01] 

  • The goal when I started the YouTube channel was to win the hearts and minds of developers. I learned that from working at Twilio. [33:44] 

  • Advice to someone who wants to start a YouTube channel from scratch: Try out the craziest, most random ideas. Then look at the data and iterate. [49:17] 

  • What topic in AI is most exciting to you today? I like the idea of thinking in an alien way and combining that with human intelligence to create an intelligence that is greater than the sum of its parts. [52:36] 

  • What do you mean by alien way? Move 37 in Alpha Go that shocked Lee Sedol. It seemed like a bad move at first but turned out to be a better move. This went against the grain of 2000+ years of human theory about what move should be played. This was an alien way of thinking. It was not only alien but alien and better. Those two together is the unique benefit of AI. [53:08]

  • Book recommendation: The Road by Cormac McCarthy [54:47]