Voices in AI – Episode 109: A Conversation with Frank Holland

Voices in AI – Episode 109: A Conversation with Frank Holland


About this Episode

On Episode 109 of Voices in AI, Byron speaks with Frank Holland in regards to the nature of intelligence and the methods wherein we outline, domesticate and try and mimic it.

Listen to this episode or learn the total transcript at

Transcript Excerpt

Byron Reese: This is Voices in AI delivered to you by GigaOm and I’m Byron Reese. Today, we have now visitor for you. His title is Frank Holland. For the final seven months, as of this recording, he has been the CEO of Apttus, which we’ll hear extra about. Before that, he had an extended and achieved tenure at Microsoft, the place he was a company VP. He holds a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell.

Welcome to the present, Frank!

Frank Holland: Hey, it’s nice to be on. Thanks rather a lot, Byron.

I all the time like to start out off by simply placing up signposts. What is intelligence? If you don’t like that, what’s synthetic about synthetic intelligence?

That is exploring the esoteric, isn’t it? I believe that you would safely outline intelligence as the flexibility to motive. What makes it so completely different from every other type of rule-based algorithms – or utilized logic to sure situations, is that you simply’re in a position to not solely work your means by way of an issue in an organized means, however do it with broad pattern-matching and the flexibility to acknowledge trending as you do it, which makes it so tenuous to have the ability to grapple with if you wish to apply it to any kind of compute-type of surroundings.

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That’s the place I believe that the cutting-edge is correct now, as folks make the transition from the philosophical query: ‘What is intelligence?’ to the thought of turning it into one thing that’s most likely saleable.

I’m with you on that, however I all the time wish to ask the query as a result of I’m actually questioning, is AI mimicking intelligence? Is it feigning intelligence the best way synthetic turf isn’t actually grass, simply making an attempt to appear to be grass, or do you really suppose it’s clever?

I don’t even have a horse on this race, I don’t have a robust – I don’t also have a weak opinion for that matter, however I’m curious as a result of to me it speaks to ‘what are the bounds of the methods for constructing?’ Are they really sensible or are we simply determining a kludge approach to annotate intelligence and it’s going to cap-out fairly rapidly?

Well, I actually suppose it began there. The concept that you would construct rule engines that might take logical bushes and break them down into sequential processing parameters is one thing we’ve been doing. I bear in mind engaged on these in my early days, even earlier than, I believe, the time period “synthetic intelligence” acquired coined. What we have been working with was actually simply the very early vestiges of machine-learning.

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Is it artificial? Yeah, I believe it’s to a level. It nearly must be to have the ability to put it into an surroundings the place you may reliably repeat it, utilizing the kinds of directions we give to a compute platform. The notion although, which you could take neural nets – and different sister applied sciences round that and apply it to a tough, thorny drawback the place we could not even know learn how to ask the query, might be the beginnings of what it makes that actually clever. I believe that the place the human isn’t in a position to sustain, not simply when it comes to scale, that’s a simple one to know, however when it comes to understanding learn how to method an issue, or like I stated, understanding what query to ask, is the place you would begin to see some actual intelligence popping out of what types of compute issues we’re throwing on the world proper now.

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Listen to this episode or learn the total transcript at


Byron explores points round synthetic intelligence and aware computer systems in his new ebook The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity.


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