What’s AI? What can it be used for? Is it safe? And how do I get involved? These are the kinds of questions we often get asked at public events like science festivals, talks and workshops. We love answering them and really value the conversations and thinking they provoke.
Sadly, we can’t have face-to-face conversations with everyone who is interested in AI. So, to help us bridge that gap, we’re now launching DeepMind: The Podcast, a new series that we hope will answer these questions and more, while also giving listeners an inside look at how AI research is done at an organisation like DeepMind. You can subscribe now on your favourite podcast app.
Listen to the trailer
Communicating a complex topic like AI research is not easy, and we’re grateful that this series is hosted by the brilliant Dr Hannah Fry, a mathematician and broadcaster with a talent for making technical topics accessible and interesting. We’ve worked together over the last 12 months to choose topics that we hope will convey the excitement of AI research, whilst also highlighting some of the questions and challenges the whole field is wrestling with today. The result is an eight-part series that explores topics such as the link between neuroscience and AI, why we use games in our research, building safe AI and how AI can be used to solve scientific problems.
In it, you will hear from our researchers, engineers, program managers and collaborators, many of whom are talking to the public about their work for the very first time.
We’re really proud of the programmes and hope they'll spark the curiosity of listeners to explore the world of AI further. To help, we have compiled a list of further reading for each episode in the show notes, drawing on the work of other labs and organisations in the AI community. We want to make this useful to anyone, so if you know of other resources we should link to, please help other listeners by either replying to us on Twitter (#DMpodcast) or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use that address to send us feedback on the series.
This is our first foray into podcasting and we've wrestled with lots of questions, some of which we thought it would be useful to share:
- Why make a podcast? Put simply, we love the convenience and format. We thought podcasts were a great option for a series about AI because they allow nuanced discussion and lets listeners hear directly from the people doing the work.
- Who is it for? We know that there are already a number of great podcasts about AI, but many are aimed at the technical community. Our own experience made us think that there could be demand for an accessible introduction to AI research. So, this series is aimed squarely at people who might be curious about AI but may not have any technical background in it.
- What topics should we cover? There are lots of important conversations about the outcomes of AI research - the enormous potential and the risks to avoid - but surprisingly little about how AI research is done. So, making a series about what AI researchers actually do all day became our starting point. In addition, given that this podcast is for a non-specialist audience, we wanted to choose stories that we thought would be accessible, hopefully entertaining, and give a general insight into current AI research. Some of these - like the story of AlphaGo - might be familiar to some of our listeners, so we also worked hard to try to include new insights. We know there is a whole world of AI research out there, but hopefully this is a good start for people curious about this exciting world.
- Who should we interview? The story of AI is a collective endeavour played out in research organisations around the world - however, this series mostly features our own staff. This was a practical decision allowing us to more easily record interviews ands test our ideas, but we’d love to hear from you if you think we should expand this beyond just DeepMind's work. Again, email us or send us a message on Twitter.
- Should we make more? We honestly don’t know! But you can help us make a decision by sending us feedback - we would love to know if you found it useful, what we have missed, who you would like to hear more from, and any topics you’d love for us to cover. We’re also keen to hear your questions about AI research and anything you heard in the series. We’ll read all the emails that are sent to us to help us decide on topics for any future podcasts.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the brilliant contributors, creative producers, and our talented presenter, Hannah, all of whom helped craft our initial idea into the final programmes you'll hear over the coming weeks.
We really enjoyed making this podcast and hope you enjoy listening too.
Presenter: Hannah Fry
Editor: David Prest
Senior Producer: Louisa Field
Producers: Amy Racs, Dan Hardoon
Binaural Sound: Lucinda Mason-Brown
Music composition: Eleni Shaw (with help from Sander Dieleman and WaveNet)