Artificial intelligence and what it owes a man who never sits down
Geoffrey Hinton’s fascination with mimicking the human brain has taken AI to an entirely new level
I last sat down in 2005," Geoffrey Hinton often says, “and it was a mistake." In the 17 years since, Hinton has never sat down; his severe back problems prevent him from doing so. He travels only by train or car, so he can sprawl across the seats. He cannot fly commercial, since airlines insist on being seated for take-off or landing. He eats “like a monk on the altar", using a foam cushion to kneel at a table. With his trademark wry British humour, he talks of his back being “a long-standing problem". In these 17 years, Hinton, working from the University of Toronto, has also transformed artificial intelligence (AI). He rescued neural networks back from an AI winter, ‘invented’ deep learning, tutored a bevy of geniuses now at the bleeding edge of AI, and won the fabled Turing Award while he was at it.