Video: The Future of Artificial Intelligence: What is AI with Elzar Simon Pt. 1 - Device42

The Future of Artificial Intelligence: What is AI with Elzar Simon Pt. 1

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Join host Michelle Dawn Mooney in this enlightening episode of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to IT” as she welcomes Elzar Simon, author of “AI Hacked” and Senior IT Director at NYU. Together, they explore the vast realm of artificial intelligence (AI).

In this first part, Elzar demystifies AI, highlighting its language processing prowess, where AI can converse and generate content, bridging the gap between machines and humans. He showcases AI’s incredible face recognition capabilities and its impact on self-driving vehicles, manufacturing robots, and even medical applications.

The episode captures the transformative power of AI, offering insights into its potential across diverse industries. Stay tuned for part two, where Michelle and Elzar delve deeper into the challenges and implications of AI. Subscribe to the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to IT” on for part two and expand your knowledge of this groundbreaking technology.


Welcome to another episode of hitchhiker’s Guide to IT podcast, brought to you by Device 42.

On this show, we explore the ins and outs of modern IT management and the infinite expanse of

its universe. Whether you’re an expert in the data center or cloud or just someone interested in

the latest trends in IT technology. Hitchhiker’s Guide to IT is your go to source for all things IT.

So buckle up and get ready to floor the ever changing landscape of modern IT management.

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

Hello, and welcome to the hitchhiker’s Guide to IT. A podcast brought to you by device forty two.

Your host Michelle Dawn Moody, and today we’re talking about the future of artificial

intelligence.If you don’t know what artificial intelligence is, why I would say where have you

been, but if you don’t, we are going to dive deep into everything AI, and I have a brilliant guest

who I’m happy to bring on today. Elzar Simon is an author, and he’s a senior IT director for

global infrastructure at NYU, thrilled to have you here. He also has written two books, AI

hacked, one and AI hacked two. So I definitely wanna check those books out. Elzar, thank you

so much for being with me today.

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

Thank you, Michelle, for having me and warm greetings to all the viewers of this podcast.

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

Yeah. Really great to have you here, Elzar. And I’m excited to have this conversation because

this really is a hot topic, but before we dive into the questions, I would love for people to hear a

little bit more about your background. So would you mind giving us a brief background, please?

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

Not at all. Thank you very much. So my name is Elzar Simon. I have over 35 years global IT

leadership experience in various industries including, international, port and shipping, finance,

health care, government, IT, and higher education. As stated earlier, I’m currently the senior IT

director for New York University. I’m heading the global infrastructure team, and NYU is one of

the largest global private research universities in the US. Just a side information, NYU has 180

plus buildings in New York City. We have two other campuses outside of the US, ie: Shanghai,

and Abu Dhabi. And 11 other study away sites. My team spearheads the NYU IT Automation

Center of Excellence, which is tasked to govern and coordinate automation and AI initiatives. I’m

also part of a technology group at NYU that explores the use of AI in support of teaching and

learning and research. I am a recipient of a commendation from The US secretary of,

Department of Veterans Affairs, a recipient of a distinguished Alumnus in Information

Technology Award and a global achievement in Information Technology Award. I’m an author of

two books on AI titled AI hacked and AI hacked 2. which are both distributed worldwide by

Amazon. Once again, thank you, Michelle, for having me in your show.

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

So excited to have you here, Elzar, and clearly, we know why you’re here with that resume. So

really looking forward to getting into this conversation. So I kind of joked earlier in the podcast at

the top that If you didn’t know what AI is or artificial intelligence, you know, where have you

been? You must be under a rock because it is one of, if not the hottest topics right now that

really is affecting everything around us. So let’s kind of break it down to give a little foundation

here. What exactly is AI and how does it differ from other forms of technology?

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

You know, I’m glad that you’re asking that question because a lot of people still don’t understand

what AI is all about. So allow me to quote a definition from Britannica. AI is the ability of a

computer or a computer controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with human

beings because they require a certain level of human intelligence and discernment. Alright.

Simply put, AI is a machine that can think and act like a human being. So AI can be a piece of

software, device, an appliance, or, as I stated earlier, a robot. Now it used to be that technology,

as we all know, was a tool to help or assist people in performing or doing their work. AI is quite

different in that it can actually perform the work itself. Right? Not just aid us in performing the

work, but AI can actually do the work for us. The other difference is that computers used to

simply follow or perform the instructions that we tell or the programmers tell the computers to

do. Now AI algorithms are very different in that they’re written in such a way that a computer can

now learn and solve related problems based on what it has learned or in some lingo what AI

was fed Right? We all know, and we have heard this, before garbage in garbage out, which

means that if we teach AI wrong information, then that’s what we are going to get, inaccurate,

biased, or even misleading information or response. Again, computers used to be tools to help

us perform our work. Not do the work. Not do the work. Right? Help us do our work. However, AI

is now able to do the work itself. Big difference, huge implications, Michelle. And how good is

AI? How good is AI compared to human beings? Let me just give you two examples. To

highlight the big difference between all technologies and the new technology, which is now, what

we call artificial intelligence. There is an ancient board game called Goh, and the possible board

positions are believed to be, listen to this. One, followed by a 170 zeros. Now I that’s how

complex the game is. Right? I know thousands. I can recognize million and billion and trillion,

but a number one followed by a hundred seventy zeros. I don’t even know what name to call

that number. Right? So in the last quarter of 2019, just four years ago, the Goh world champion

South Korean, Li Say Dol, announced his retirement as world champion citing that AI cannot be

defeated. Right? He was beaten by an AI engine which is Google’s DeepMind Alpha Go. Now,

That is not the first time that we were beaten by AI because eight years before that Watson,

which is IBM’s AI platform or engine, beat exceptional human contestants in the celebrated TV

game show, Jeopardy. 2011. Right? As far back as 2011. We were already beaten by AI.Those

who watch Jeopardy know that the question is framed like an answer to a question. And the

answer that has to be given by a contestant should be in the form of a question. That’s how

complex that game is. Right? And yet, we were beaten by a machine. So how good is AI

compared to humans? I’d say we humans are headed for some tough competition.

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

Yeah. I’d say so. And there are a million with a hundred thousand zeros, questions that I have

that are coming up right now with all of this. So let me go into this. So now we know how

artificial intelligence works. And we’re gonna cover a lot of territory here, but let’s take a look at

all of its capabilities. I mean, you gave us some examples just from board games you know, a

TV game show that I’ll be honest with you, I mean, there’s a big difference between wheel of

fortune and and jeopardy when you go into you have to be the kinda the smarty pants to to be

sitting through jeopardy and get a few right on that one. So what are the full capabilities of what

AI can do across other spectrums that really hasn’t been seen in the past.

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

Well, there are numerous subfields in AI, but let’s start with the more familiar capabilities of

artificial intelligence. So I mentioned machines Right? AI is a machine that can think and act like

a human being. So let’s refer to human capabilities and compare that with AI and vice versa. So

the first one that’s obvious is AI can talk or converse with humans either audibly or via text. And

so when I say AI can talk to us audibly, that also means that AI can hear and that AI can speak.

There is a sub field in AI called natural language processing. Or NLP. AI can understand and

converse in human language. How do we know that? Well, we know today that we can talk to

Siri and Siri can understand what we are saying and respond to us in an audible human

language. Not computer language, human language. Now using what is called a large language

model or LLM, We can not only have a chat with OpenAI’s chat GPT or Google’s BARD, but

these AI engines can generate content, like stories, poems, news items, essays, term papers,

job descriptions, cover letters, and many more. That’s why they’re called generative AI. Alright.

So you will hear them, we you will hear people say generative AI and open you know, chat GPT

because those engines can actually generate text based content. Now, a large language model

or LLM is a type of AI algorithm that uses a very, very large data set to understand, to

summarize, to generate and even predict content. The numbers on the internet are not

consistent, you know, as far as how many languages we can use to talk with Chat GPT or Bard?

Right? The numbers are inconsistent. They’re, you know, there’s and it’s not definitive, but some

say that chat GPT can converse in 95 languages. I know a person who can speak fluently in 6

languages but not 95.

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

Some of us had trouble with 1, Elzar. So I think that’s pretty amazing right there.

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

Exactly. And that same friend of mine who can speak 6 languages. He was the one who told me

that Chat GPT’s French is flawless.

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

Exactly. You know, the other thing is, Sundar Pichai in a, in an interview, mentioned that they are

learning that their own AI engine, which is BARD, was able to learn the Bangladeshi language

on its own without being trained. Isn’t that phenomenal? And people are now talking about the

possibility of AI cracking some of the ancient languages that have already disappeared Right?

That no one knows. AI can now be used to crack those languages. Isn’t that amazing?

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

Yeah. It’s unbelievable. I think of the, you know, Indiana Jones movie now out and you think of

the ancient, you know, scenes that they have, it just reminds me of something out of a sci fi

movie? Exactly.

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

Exactly. You know, reality is now and, as they say it is, it’s stranger than fiction. And that’s what

we’re seeing now. By the way, chat GPT and BARD can also generate and troubleshoot

computer code in various computer languages. Right, which is, of course, their native language.

Now going back to human capabilities, our machines thinking and acting like human beings, I

can also see. How do we know that? There is a subfield in AI called Machine Perception,

whereby a computer can interpret in a way that humans use our senses. A good example of this

is facial recognition technology that enables computers to recognize a person or persons in a

digital photo, or, or listen to this, predict the breed of a dog with a very high degree of accuracy.

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

Wow. That’s incredible.

(Guest: Elzar Simon)

It’s absolutely incredible. This machine perception technology is also used to develop

self-driving cars, buses, trucks, as well as numerous kinds of robots. Right, for, for example,

used in, assembly line. A similar technology, which is quite interesting, is also used in some

areas in medicine.

(Host: Michelle Dawn Mooney)

And there is so much to cover on this topic that, unfortunately, we are out of time for this

podcast episode. So we are going to actually break this into two parts because it is such a big

topic and we don’t want you to lose any of the great information that Elzar is putting out there.

So I want to thank Elzar for being our special guest, Elazar Simon. He’s the author of AI hacked

and AI hacked 2 and also senior IT director for global infrastructure and NYU. We’ve been

talking about artificial intelligence and the future, and I wanna thank you for tuning in to this very

special episode part 1 of this episode of the hitchhiker’s Guide to IT. You will be seeing part 2 of

this episode very shortly. So I would highly encourage you to be on the lookout for that. Of

course, you can go to to subscribe to this podcast. So be on the lookout for part 2

of this episode soon. We had to break it into two because there’s just too much information to

get on one episode. I’m your host, Michelle Dawn Mooney. Thanks again for joining us. We

hope to see you on the next podcast.