Steve Jurvetson

Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Dichotomy of Designed and Evolutionary Paths to AI Futures
21 minutes, 9.9mb, recorded 2007-09-09
Steve Jurvetson

Is design or evolution the best approach for developing complex artificial intelligence systems ? Taking cues from nanotech and life sciences, Mr. Jurveston believes that borrowing from nature, and following an evolutionary path of iterative algorithms, is the best path to the future of artificial intelligence. He points out that in using the term evolution, he does not mean biological evolution. He is instead referring to simple selection and variation, selection and variation, over and over again, observing what is revealed.

Mr. Jurvetson notes that the evolutionary approach comes with challenges. It is impossible to understand how the artifacts created actually work in the iterative evolutionary process . You can hone the process, but can never be sure of the end result. And, unlike engineering there is no reverse-evolutionary process to backtrack and analyze structure and function. Therefore, while scientists and engineers may be able to evolve an artificial brain, they will not be able to understand how it actually works.

Steve Jurvetson is a Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a leading venture capital firm. He was the founding VC investor in Hotmail (MSFT), Interwoven (IWOV), and Kana (KANA). He also led the firm's investments in Tradex and Cyras, acquired for $8 billion. Current Board positions include Synthetic Genomics, IMMI, and ZARS. Previously, Mr. Jurvetson was an R&D Engineer at Hewlett-Packard, where seven of his communications chip designs were fabricated. His prior technical experience also includes programming, materials science research (TEM atomic imaging of GaAs), and computer design at HP's PC Division, the Center for Materials Research, and Mostek. He has also worked in product marketing at Apple and NeXT Software. As a Consultant with Bain & Company, Mr. Jurvetson developed executive marketing, sales, engineering and business strategies for a wide range of companies in the software, networking and semiconductor industries. At Stanford University, he finished his BSEE in 2.5 years and graduated #1 in his class, as the Henry Ford Scholar. Mr. Jurvetson also holds an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford. He received his MBA from the Stanford Business School, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.


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