Artificial intelligence developer shares his work with students


Mr. Avakians presents students robots as part of his discussion on artificial intelligence. In accordance with their curriculum, Trends in Literature: Utopia/Distopia classes and the Robotics Club had the opportunity to meet the technology expert.

Madeline Fagen, Contributing Writer

We have entered an era in which robots can mimic human intelligence and replace humans in the workplace. Trends in Literature: Utopia/Dystopia students and members of the Robotics Club had the opportunity to attend a presentation from an expert extending the boundaries of artificial intelligence.

On Oct. 10, English teacher Ms. Valerie Gokturk and technology teacher Mr. Donald Shaefer had computer intelligence researcher and developer Mr. Sevak Avakians visit their classes.  Mr. Avakians is currently making advances in the field of “artificial intelligence,” which studies the theory and development of computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

Mr. Avakians spoke about his career in artificial intelligence and brought many robots to show their evolution.

The Robotics Club is interested in this field because of the highly advanced robots that it has the potential to produce.  Ms. Gokturk’s course explores futuristic dystopian and utopian visions of Earth, occasionally involving supercomputers and hyper-developed AI, connecting the presentation to the students’ curriculum.

“Sevak Avakians visited our school to talk about singularity,” said junior David Tung.  “Singularity is when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence.  He talked about current advancements in robots and technology.  He also talked about the artificial intelligence program he invented that learns from its mistakes.”

Mr. Avakians’s past jobs in electrical engineering and information security have helped him take problem solving to a new level.  Avakians has created an artificial intelligence engine called the General Artificial Intelligence using Software (GAIuS) which answers the problem of architecting software that allows intelligence to emerge and evolve.

“The students were very engaged and animated,” said Ms. Gokturk.  “They asked a lot of questions and seemed to be inspired by Mr. Avakians for their future careers.”

Mr. Avakians was impressed and surprised by the students’ interest and knowledge on the topic.

“I am certain that that room was rich with minds that will continue revolutionizing the world,” Mr. Avakians said.  “The students had extremely well thought-out and thought-provoking questions.  Fielding these questions from the next generation of scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, and visionaries was a great thrill.  I have a high confidence in the future of American S.T.E.M.”

One student asked if Mr. Avakians believed if human minds could be transplanted into machines.  Although Avakians was not able to answer her question due to limitations of current technology, he was impressed by the student’s question.

“Simply asking that question can put her on a path to a very exciting life-long adventure!” said Mr. Avakians.

Mr. Avakians advised students to attempt hard problems, as they are more rewarding to solve, and to embrace failure.

Mr. Avakians also stressed the importance of developing personal opinions and ideas.

“You all have bright futures ahead of you, if you choose to do the work,” said Mr. Avakians.  “I look forward to living in the world that you create.”