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Windward Podcast: Artificial Intelligence, Music, and Meaning

Updated: May 1, 2019

The pilot episode of my podcast, Windward, with Joel A. Crichton is now available. You can use the player below, or find it on iTunes.

I had the opportunity to talk with Kory Mathewson about his work in the field of Artificial Intelligence. From his website:

Kory Mathewson is a PhD candidate in Reinforcement Learning at the University of Alberta with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute. His research interests include interactive machine learning, human-in-the-loop deep reinforcement learning, human-robot interfaces (prosthetic robotics), and conversational dialog systems. Before his PhD, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and his Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. Kory has interned at Twitter Cortex, at Google Brain Magenta, and at Apple Special Projects Group. His PhD research is funded by the National Science and Engineering Research Council. Kory is a Lab Scientist (Machine Learning) at the Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto. He is also an accomplished improvisational theatre performance artist with Rapid Fire Theatre. He is currently fusing his interests by developing an artificial intelligence to perform comedy alongside.


Our conversation was very enjoyable, funny, and got pretty deep into the psychological and philosophical layers of the AI phenomenon, as well as Kory's own approach. In particular, we talked about:

-Living in a simulation

-Google DeepDream

-AlphaGo & Lee Sedol

-Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark

-Olive Garden Memes

-Keith Jarrett's legendary piano improvisation,The Köln Concert

-The BBC's Historical Farming series

-The 2010 Flash Crash


If, like me, the Artificial Intelligence field is fascinating to you but also goes completely over your head, have a listen. I learned a great deal from talking with Kory. I think the episode is pretty damn accessible considering we're talking about the absolute cutting edge of computer science.