Thursday, November 16, 2023

Immigrant of the Day: Dr. Fei-Fei Li, China

The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI

Our immigrant of the Day is Dr. Fei-Fei Li, a visionary Stanford computer science professor.  Her story is told in The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI by Fei-Fei Li (2023).

The publisher describes the book as follows:

"The moving memoir of a scientist coming of age as an immigrant in America who finds her calling at the forefront of the AI revolution.

Wired called Dr. Fei-Fei Li `one of a tiny group of scientists―a group perhaps small enough to fit around a kitchen table―who are responsible for AI’s recent remarkable advances.'

Known to the world as the creator of ImageNet, a key catalyst of modern artificial intelligence, Dr. Li has spent more than two decades at the forefront of the field. But her career in science was improbable from the start. As immigrants, her family faced a difficult transition from China’s middle class to American poverty. And their lives were made all the harder as they struggled to care for her ailing mother, who was working tirelessly to help them all gain a foothold in their new land.

Fei-Fei’s adolescent knack for physics endured, however, and positioned her to make a crucial contribution to the breakthrough we now call AI, placing her at the center of a global transformation. Over the last decades, her work has brought her face-to-face with the extraordinary possibilities―and the extraordinary dangers―of the technology she loves.

The Worlds I See is a story of science in the first person, documenting one of the century’s defining moments from the inside. It provides a riveting story of a scientist at work and a thrillingly clear explanation of what artificial intelligence actually is―and how it came to be. Emotionally raw and intellectually uncompromising, this book is a testament not only to the passion required for even the most technical scholarship but also to the curiosity forever at its heart."

Hat tip to Dan Kowalski.


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