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Singularity 1 on 1: Jonathan Mugan on The Curiosity Cycle

The Curiosity CycleJonathan Mugan is not only a computer scientist specializing in machine learning and AI but also a father of three and the author of The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing Your Child for the Ongoing Technological Explosion. Since this is one of the few good books on the topic that I am aware of, I thought I’d bring Jonathan on Singularity 1 on 1 so that we can dive deeper into the issues surrounding child education in an age of accelerating change.

During our 30 min conversation with Mugan we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: his journey from the “soft” half of knowledge – arts, into the “hard” half – science; his book The Curiosity Cycle; building smart robots and educating children; why he focused on “curiosity” rather than “intelligence” and “cycle” rather than a “score”; tips for teaching your kids in the most effective manner, dealing with automation and technological unemployment…

(You can listen to/download the audio file above or watch the video interview in full. If you want to help me produce more episodes like this one please make a donation!)

 

Who is Jonathan Mugan?

Jonathan_MuganDr. Jonathan Mugan is a computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning. He is the author of The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing Your Child for the Ongoing Technological Explosion. Dr. Mugan received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. His thesis was centered in developmental robotics, which is an area of research that seeks to understand how robots can learn about the world in the same way that human children do. Dr. Mugan also held a post-doctoral position at Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked at the intersection of machine learning and human-computer interaction (HCI) as a member of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory. His work focused on enabling devices such as smart phones to learn a user’s privacy preferences. He received his B.A. in Psychology and his M.B.A. from Texas A&M University. He has three children.

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  • Wholewitt

    Don’t overload your kid with sports and limit their time playing video games. Don’t keep buying the latest gadget for them and encourage exploration. Not that hard.

  • Steven Black

    Great interview and good points shared, especially about understanding concepts instead of facts. The model metaphor was also useful for me.

    As far as the future, I see some exponential trends pushing us towards a zero marginal cost society so as unemployment rises, people will start shifting to the social commons, in areas where access to the internet is available. Places without the ability to share will become very unstable. The internet needs to be made available to everyone in order for humanity to survive the automation age and transition safely into this new world.

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