MIT President Rafael Reif believes that tech, science and students can change the world

Can a greater understanding of human intelligence make for smarter machines?

Rafael Reif thinks so. He’s an internationally famend electrical engineer, researcher, and professor and for the previous 5 years, he’s served as the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise.

Reif spends a variety of his time interested by how we higher perceive the world round us, and now he’s making use of that perspective to synthetic intelligence with MIT’s Intelligence Quest project. We spoke with Reif about the challenge on a current episode of the GeekWire podcast, which you can hear in the participant under.

However we wished to know extra about Reif, the man behind a few of MIT’s signature initiatives from the previous decade. He was born and raised in Venezuela, studied at Stanford and, as we discovered, enjoys a great recreation of chess.

GeekWire interviewed Reif for this Geek of the Week. Proceed studying for his solutions to our questionnaire.

What do you do and why do you do it? “Nicely, I’m the MIT president. Why do I do it? As a result of I truthfully admire and love the mission of MIT, which isn’t simply to advance data and educate students however — in our mission assertion — convey that data to bear on the nice challenges for the good thing about humankind. Mainly, simply make the world higher. I like that mission and I like the folks of MIT. All of them simply imagine on this mission.”

What’s the single most necessary factor folks ought to find out about your discipline? “Nicely, let me simply outline the discipline as the job. I feel many individuals, after they see a university president, they run the different means as a result of they assume these persons are solely fundraisers and that’s all they do. There’s rather more to it than fundraising. For example, proper now we’re dealing with large modifications in automation and we’ve got to fret about their affect on society. So faculty presidents truly assume not nearly the best way to advance the discipline, the best way to advance data, however the affect of information on society and the best way to put together society for it.”

The place do you discover your inspiration? “MIT students. They’re the finest.”

What’s the one piece of know-how you could possibly not dwell with out and why? “My smartphone! I exploit all of it the time for every part. I imply, if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t know what to do.”

What’s your workspace like and why does it give you the results you want? “I’ve a good workplace, however mainly, what I want is a desk, a drawer to place stuff in, a file cupboard, and a bookcase. Possibly some mild and a plug to plug in my iPhone when it runs out of battery, and that’s just about it. I do have a number of chairs for folks to take a seat and speak to me.”

Your finest tip or trick for managing on a regular basis work and life? “I attempt to have a constant each day schedule for weekdays and weekends. I attempt to keep on with what I’m doing and deal with simply that at the second and attempt to neglect about every part else and deal with what I’m doing at the second.”

Mac, Home windows, or Linux? Mac.

Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? “That is embarrassing: I don’t watch TV.”

Transporter, Time Machine, or Cloak of Invisibility? “Time machine. I might love to return and go to the future. I all the time take into consideration the future and I all the time be taught from the previous.”

If somebody gave me a million {dollars} to launch a startup, I might: “I might make investments it in 10 startups by MIT students.”

I as soon as waited in line for: “Glass pumpkins. Yearly at MIT, we’ve got a fall occasion round Halloween by which students and artists use our glass lab to, mainly, create glass pumpkins. They put them on the grass in an space that MIT folks stand in line to go and then stroll round the grass and decide their pumpkins.”

Your position fashions: “My mother and father and my brothers. They confirmed me the strategy to the training that modified my life.”

Best recreation in historical past: “Chess. I’ve a chess set in my workplace… I don’t play that typically anymore nevertheless it’s a strategic recreation and, to me, technique is at the coronary heart of a variety of what we do.”

Finest gadget ever: Screwdriver

First laptop: IBM PC

Present cellphone: iPhone

Favourite App: Dropbox

Favourite trigger: Lately, the foundations of our democracy.

Most necessary know-how of 2018? I want for digital actuality for training.

Most necessary know-how of 2020? A treatment for Alzheimer’s.

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