Meet Associate Professor Thore Husfeldt from IT University as host while he talks to other researchers about the fundations of IT.
The podcast is a popular science program about foundational issues of IT hosted at IT University of Copenhagen.
Robin Hanson: The Age of Mind Uploading
Robin Hanson is an associate professor of economics at George Mason University and a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University and onethe world’s most influential futurists.We talk to Robin about how rigoroussocial science can help us describe a society in which “mind uploading” – the idea of simulating whole brains on digital hardware – might actuallylook. How does a society look where most minds live their lives in virtual reality, immortalsin a worldwhere labour is plentiful?Will the emulated humans be rich or poor, happy or miserable, care-free or stressed, honest or false, lazy or industrious, diverse or all the same? Will they fall in love, have friends, swear, distrust others, commit suicide,and find meaning in their lives?Robin’s book about this topic is“The Age of Em:Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth”(Oxford University Press, 2016). Robin blogs about rationality athttp://www.overcomingbias.com.
Tim Roughgarden: The Price of Anarchy
Tim Roughgarden is professor in the Computer Science and Management Science and Engineering Departments at Stanford University. He is also a very active science communicator, hosting a popular algorithms course on the Coursera online learningplatform.Among many recognitions,Tim has received theGödel Prize for hisresearch in computational game theory, a field that residesin theintersection of two disciplines:economics and computer science. We talk to Tim about one of the central insights of that work: the Prize of Anarchy, which quantifies the loss in efficiency of a system due to selfish behaviour of its agents.We also look at applications of game-theoretic algorithms in the real world, when Tim explains the role that computer science played in designingthe 2016“incentive auction” used to by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tobuy and sell broadcast airwaves.
Claire Mathieu: College Admission Algorithms in the Real World
Claire Mathieu is a leading researcher in algorithms design and director of research at Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, France.) Claire has been involved in the 2018 redesign of the college admission procedure in France, where close to a million students apply for more than ten thousand different college programmes. At the root of the procedure is the famous and widely used Stable Marriage method of Gale and Shapley (1962), a result that was recognised with the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics.
Claire explains to us the basic algorithmic ideas, but also the many challenging details that must be addressed when an otherwise clean and well-understood procedure is implemented to tackle a real-world scenario. Many domain-specific peculiarities arise, such as social, cultural, political, administrative, and legal issues, which are themselves often ill-defined and frequently conflicting.
The episode was recorded on 20 August 2018, during the European Symposium of Algorithms 2018, hosted by Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.
Yves Bertot: Verifying One Million Digits of Pi
Yves Bertot is a senior researcher that the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) in Sophia Antipolis and a leading researcher on correctness of software and the verification of mathematical proofs. Recently, his team was able to formally verify the correctness of the computation on the one millionth decimal digit of pi (which is 1, by the way), including a formally verifiable proof of the mathematics behind the formula and the correctness of the implementation of arithmetic operations used in the computation. We use this result as an inspiration to talk about interactive theorem proving and improving software quality.
Yves’ book with Pierre Casterán about interactive theorem proving using the Coq system is “Interactive Theorem Proving and Program Development – Coq'Art: The Calculus of Inductive Constructions”, Springer Verlag, EATCS Texts in Theoretical Computer Science, 2004, ISBN 3-540-20854-2.
Sarah Pink: Digital Ethnography
Sarah Pink is a Professor of Design and Media Ethnography at RMIT University, Australia, and the author or co-editor of several books about digital ethnography.
To approach this area, we get Sarah’s help with some conceptual groundwork about the methods, values, and history of ethnography, and its relation to neighbouring fields such as anthropology or cultural geography. But the conversation focusses on digital ethnography: Information technology changes not only the methods of ethnography by providing tools or modes of expression, but also raises new questions by changing notions of embodiment, geographic place, and social relation, all of which are central themes for ethnographers. We also talk about how an field that largely eschews prediction and hypothesis can reason about future technology such as self-driving cars.
Sarah’s book is Pink et al., Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice, SAGE Publications, 2016.
Roman Beck: Blockchain
Roman Beck is professor of Business Informatics at IT University of Copenhagen and the head of the European Blockchain Center. We talk to Roman about blockchain, a cryptographically secure, distributed database technology sometimes called a “trust machine.” Blockchain applications include the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, as well as various ideas for ensuring trust across institutional boundaries, such as contracts. It may also serve as the conceptual infrastructure of the next generation Internet. Which are the main ideas underlying this technology, how does it makes us think differently about digital information, and what are the possibilities, challenges, promises, and threats of this technology?