A recent profile in Bloomberg.com by Ashlee Vance of one of the pioneers of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) describes the irrascible character Jürgen Schmidhuber as both brilliant and impossible⎯also a problem for the AI field because of his attitude that machines could become superior to humans.

Schmidhuber, a professor in Lugano, Switzerland, is a researcher and founder of a 25-employee start-up called Nnaisense. His groundbreaking work involves giving AI systems memories, and his work has impacted nearly every electronic device now in use.

For decades, Schmidhuber and a handful of other AI savants have pursued the quest for an AGI along similar paths, but only in the past six years has the right mix of powerful computers and plentiful data existed to start turning their theories into reality. The others—among them Geoffrey Hinton, Yoshua Bengio, Richard Sutton, and Yann LeCun—have become celebrities in the tech industry. They’re beloved as mentors, sought out by top companies, and feted at conferences as progenitors of a new age. Outside most academic circles, Schmidhuber remains largely unknown. Partly, that’s because of Lugano’s isolation in the Alps. Mostly, it seems to be because the guy’s peers don’t like him. While they shy away from commenting in public, the other AI legends describe him privately as egomaniacal, deceptive, and an overall pain.

The AI advocate is so difficult, egomaniacal and insistent on publicly calling out colleagues as having used his ideas in their papers that they’ve developed a term to describe his contentious behavior toward them: being “Schmidhubered.”

The lengthy profile tells the history of Schmidhuber’s work and how he has become a thorn in the side of many in his field, even as he develops neural network technology that might continue to advance speech recognition and language translation.

read more at bloomberg.com