The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Michael Levin & Adam Goldstein: Intelligence and its Many Scales
Michael Levin & Adam Goldstein: Intelligence and its Many Scales
On diverse intelligence in unconventional embodiments and spaces, the concept of a Self, regenerative medicine, and more imaginative notions of AI.

In episode 97 of The Gradient Podcast, Daniel Bashir speaks to Professor Michael Levin and Adam Goldstein.

Professor Levin is a Distinguished Professor and Vannevar Bush Chair in the Biology Department at Tufts University. He also directs the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts. His group, the Levin Lab, focuses on understanding the biophysical mechanisms that implement decision-making during complex pattern regulation, and harnessing endogenous bioelectric dynamics toward rational control of growth and form. 

Adam Goldstein was a visiting scientist at the Levin Lab, where he worked on cancer research, and is the co-founder and Chairman of Astonishing Labs. Previously Adam founded Hipmunk, wrote tech books for O'Reilly, and was a Visiting Partner at Y Combinator.

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  • (00:00) Intro

  • (02:37) Intros

    • (03:20) Prof. Levin intro

    • (04:26) Adam intro

  • (06:25) A perspective on intelligence

    • (08:40) Diverse intelligence — in unconventional embodiments and unfamiliar spaces, substrate independence

  • (12:23) Failure of the life-machine distinction, text-based systems, grounding, and embodiment

  • (16:12) What it is to be a Self, fluidity and persistence

  • (22:45) The combination problem in cognitive function, levels and representation

  • (27:10) Goals for AI / cognitive science, Prof Levin’s perspective on building intelligent systems

  • (31:25) Adam’s and Prof. Levin’s recent research—regenerative medicine and cancer

  • (36:25) Examples of regeneration, Adam on the right approach to the regeneration problem as generation

  • (45:25) Protein engineering vs. Adam and Prof. Levin’s program, implicit assumptions underlying biology

  • (48:15) Regeneration example in liver disease

  • (50:50) Perspectives on AI and its goals


The Gradient

The Gradient: Perspectives on AI

Interviews with various people who research, build, or use AI, including academics, engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, and more.