Published: June 14, 2016

This past semester, with the generous support of the Engineering Excellence Fund and the Dean’s Office, Herbst hosted Stuart Russell, a professor of computer science at University of California, Berkeley.

Russell, a lively, thoughtful and compelling speaker, is an international authority on artificial intelligence whose book "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" is the standard text in AI (it has been translated into 13 languages and is used in over 1300 universities in 116 countries). He also works for the United Nations, developing a new global seismic monitoring system for the nuclear-test-ban treaty. 

During his visit, Russell spoke to a small group of students about the “Open Letter on Autonomous Weapons.” The letter, signed by more than 20,000 AI and robotics researchers, calls for “a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.” Russell made a compelling case for transnational restrictions in the field.  

That evening, Russell spoke to an audience of more than 250 Buffs, revealing his concerns for the long-term future of artificial intelligence and its implications for human beings.