A month and a half ago, I gave a 45-minute lecture / attempted standup act with the intentionally-nutty title above, for my invited talk at the wonderful NIPS (Neural Information Processing Systems) conference at Lake Tahoe. Video of the talk is now available at VideoLectures net. That site also did a short written interview with me, where they asked about the “message” of my talk (which is unfortunately hard to summarize, though I tried!), as well as the Aaron Swartz case and various other things. If you just want the PowerPoint slides from my talk, you can get those here.
Now, I could’ve just given my usual talk on quantum computing and complexity. But besides increasing boredom with that talk, one reason for my unusual topic was that, when I sent in the abstract, I was under the mistaken impression that NIPS was at least half a “neuroscience” conference. So, I felt a responsibility to address how quantum information science might intersect the study of the brain, even if the intersection ultimately turned out to be the empty set! (As I say in the talk, the fact that people have speculated about connections between the two, and have sometimes been wrong but for interesting reasons, could easily give me 45 minutes’ worth of material.)
Anyway, it turned out that, while NIPS was founded by people interested in modeling the brain, these days it’s more of a straight machine learning conference. Still, I hope the audience there at least found my talk an amusing appetizer to their hearty meal of kernels, sparsity, and Bayesian nonparametric regression. I certainly learned a lot from them; while this was my first machine learning conference, I’ll try to make sure it isn’t my last.
(Incidentally, the full set of NIPS videos is here; it includes great talks by Terry Sejnowski, Stanislas Dehaene, Geoffrey Hinton, and many others. It was a weird honor to be in such distinguished company — I wouldn’t have invited myself!)