Even if you have been living in a cabin in Montana for the last 10 years working on your anti-technology manifesto, you have no doubt been hearing all the hype about Artificial Intelligence, perhaps more accurately called machine learning. Maybe you think it is the beginning of the end of humanity, maybe you think it won’t be long before an AI takes your job, or maybe you think it is a good idea that machines become intelligent, since people, particularly people in the USA, are making the movie Idiocracy seem like a serious documentary.

Nobody knows whether machines can become truly “conscious”, but there is very little doubt now that machines are operating in ways that more and more seem like “thinking”, and that machine learning methods are rapidly becoming more sophisticated and and more successful. How smart can machines become? I don’t know, but it looks like we are going to find out real soon.

This year on Saturday morning at AgoraFest you be able to see a demonstration of how machine learning works, how to design your own machine intelligences, how to teach them so they become smarter, and maybe most importantly how to help them learn by themselves.

You will learn about the most common programming and data tools used in machine learning, and the real reason why governments and corporations want to collect and store every bit of data they can. You will become familiar with the basic process of infer/error/train, and the differences between supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement learning. We’ll talk a little about math skills, why they are important, and how to level up your maths so you can make better models and algorithms. And finally we’ll look at “deep” learning and neural networks, where the most interesting (and sometimes frightening) advancements are being made with AI.

If machine intelligence is inevitable, do we want only criminals, psychopaths, and collectivists to design, teach, and control these intelligences? Like biological children, they will learn by examples, by the values that are given to them, and by the rewards and incentives the teacher programs. You can bet that an AI owned by a government will act just like its master. But if you design and teach machines to love individual liberty and follow principles such as non-aggression, self ownership, and property rights, they will act accordingly. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

And fortunately it is not that hard. It just takes patience, and time. And love. Our machine children, just like our biological children, need good parents and good teachers in order to not grow up to be monsters.

Your children need you. Won’t you help them?

To learn more and to sign up for AgoraFest 2017: