Fram Signature Lecture - With Kerrie Holley

Critical Thinking: Is AI Nothing More than Machine Learning or Existential Threat?

“Picture an AI that truly speaks your language — and not just your words and syntax. Imagine an AI that understands context, nuance, and even humor. This is no longer just a futuristic concept — it's the reality of ChatGPT.” (Forbes, 2023). The excitement about AI since ChatGPT has been nothing short of amazing. Per Kerrie: While at Google and during my almost 50+ years working in tech, I have never seen so many CEOs from all industries so excited and eager to understand and leverage AI. The frenzy is real.

Let’s think critically. The anthropomorphization of AI has many ramifications. Is AI nothing more than machine learning, or is AI an existential threat? Do LLMs have emergent properties? Is AGI a theory or opinion? Author and philosopher Nick Bostrom, in his book Superintelligence (Bostrom, 2016), discusses the existential threat of superintelligence. A statement from the Center for AI Safety lumped AI with pandemics and nuclear weapons as a major risk to civilization (2024). The State Department’s Gladstone report writes, “The recent explosion of progress in advances artificial intelligence (AI) has brought great opportunities, but it is also creating entirely new categories of weapons of mass destruction-like (WMD-like) and WMD enabling catastrophic risks (2024). Our talk covers these issues and more. 

Center for AI Safety: Statement on AI Risk (Accessed June 12, 2024).

Gladstone AI: An Action Plan to increase the safety and security of advanced AI (Accessed June 12, 2024).

Holley K. & M. Mathur, LLMs and Generative AI in Healthcare, The Next Frontier. (O’Reilly Media, Oct. 2024) ISBN-10: ‎1098160924

Marr B. A Short History Of ChatGPT: How We Got To Where We Are Today, (Forbes, May 19, 2023).

Bio: Kerrie Holley is a visionary leader in the field of healthcare technology, with a proven track record of driving innovation and transformation at industry giants such as Google, Optum, Cisco, and IBM. Retired from industry, Google was his last executive role. Before his tenure at Google, Kerrie significantly contributed to Optum's technological advancement as the company's first Technology Fellow and Senior Vice President. Before Optum, Kerrie was a VP and CTO for Cisco's analytics and automation software portfolio. Then CEO Ginny Rometty appointed him to be the second black IBM Fellow, IBM’s highest honor for a scientist or engineer and he was the the first black Distinguished Engineer. His last role was in IBM Research, focusing on cognitive computing. Before joining IBM Research, he was the CTO for IBM’s Global Business Services for the Applications Innovation organization. IBM Watson achieved fame in 2011 when it competed on the popular quiz show Jeopardy! And defeated two human champions. Kerrie appeared on ABC News and in a TED talk describing Watson’s next job the next day. He is the author of three books, the most recent being LLMs and Generative AI in Healthcare, The Next Frontier (Holley & Mathur, Oct. 2024).

Kerrie graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a degree in mathematics. Kerrie also holds a Juris Doctorate degree from DePaul University. In 2016, DePaul conferred a Doctor of Humane Letters. Kerrie holds over 30 patents. In 2023, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions.

Jennifer DiLucia
Event Snapshot
When and Where
September 24, 2024
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Room/Location: Ingle Auditorium

Open to the Public

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artificial intelligence