Day 1: Lecture on Stats and Probability, Guest Speaker Fei-Fei Li, and Jackrabbot Demo

Today, we kicked off AI4ALL 2019 with a lecture from Google engineer Eugene Davydov on an introduction to Statistics and Probability in the Gates CS building. We were excited to learn about an important building block of computer science. Not only did we get a solid introduction to important terms such as “union” and Bayes Rule, but also applications of the things we learned in the real world.

Next, we had a guest lecture from Professor Fei-Fei Li, co-founder of AI4ALL and overall rockstar in the tech industry. She began by talking about the history of Artificial Intelligence, starting with its roots with Stanford and MIT labs in the 60s.

Professor Li then discussed the parallels between the Cambrian Explosion (540 million years ago) to the AI of today. Just as the ability to see helped engage animals of the Cambrian Period in a evolutional arms race, computer vision today is “shining light on the digital world.” We went through examples of cool optical illusions to understand the complexities of vision.

Finally, Professor Li closed by explaining the importance of having girls in AI’s future. Without a diverse set of backgrounds of those developing AI, it risks becoming a danger to society. Professor Li is dedicated to making sure that women are empowered to pursue a career in AI!

After lunch, we came back to Gates to have some free time and ponder some probability problems that Eugene left for us.

Campers ponder the birthday problem

Last but not least, we got to participate in a fun and exciting demo with Stanford AI Lab’s Jackrabbot, which aims to develop a “polite” robot that uses computer vision to detect and interact with human beings.

We got to interact with the robot, and was shown how humans are detected and classified. A really interesting feature of the robot is how many cameras are on it to take in data! After taking in the visual data, it is then downloaded onto hard disks within the robot, and then the data is sent to software engineers, who do deep learning with it in order to refine the classification. It was really cool to see in real time on the big screen how the robot viewed the attentive audience members.

“YOLO: You Only Look Once”

All in all, we had a great first day getting to know each other better, and learning lots about our roles in Artificial Intelligence!

Blog post and all photos by Vivian Liu

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