The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Subbarao Kambhampati: Planning, Reasoning, and Interpretability in the Age of LLMs
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Subbarao Kambhampati: Planning, Reasoning, and Interpretability in the Age of LLMs

On explanations, thinking and language, LLMs' difficulties in planning and reasoning, and AI as a natural science.
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Transcript

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In episode 110 of The Gradient Podcast, Daniel Bashir speaks to Professor Subbarao Kambhampati.

Professor Kambhampati is a professor of computer science at Arizona State University. He studies fundamental problems in planning and decision making, motivated by the challenges of human-aware AI systems. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Association for Computing machinery, and was an NSF Young Investigator. He was the president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, trustee of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and a founding board member of Partnership on AI.

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Outline:

  • (00:00) Intro

  • (02:11) Professor Kambhampati’s background

  • (06:07) Explanation in AI

  • (18:08) What people want from explanations—vocabulary and symbolic explanations

  • (21:23) The realization of new concepts in explanation—analogy and grounding

  • (30:36) Thinking and language

    • (31:48) Conscious and subconscious mental activity

    • (36:58) Tacit and explicit knowledge

  • (42:09) The development of planning as a research area

    • (46:12) RL and planning

    • (47:47) What makes a planning problem hard?

    • (51:23) Scalability in planning

  • (54:48) LLMs do not perform reasoning

    • (56:51) How to show LLMs aren’t reasoning

  • (59:38) External verifiers and backprompting LLMs

  • (1:07:51) LLMs as cognitive orthotics, language and representations

  • (1:16:45) Finding out what kinds of representations an AI system uses

  • (1:31:08) “Compiling” system 2 knowledge into system 1 knowledge in LLMs

  • (1:39:53) The Generative AI Paradox, reasoning and retrieval

  • (1:43:48) AI as an ersatz natural science

    • (1:44:03) Why AI is straying away from its engineering roots, and what constitutes engineering

  • (1:58:33) Outro

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The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Interviews with various people who research, build, or use AI, including academics, engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, and more.