Understanding the Universe with AI

Gresham College lecture as Visiting Professor of Cosmology, part of the series “The Unexpected Universe“.

Digital technology from the early 1990s onwards produced an exponential increase in astronomical data. Within our lifetime, the entirety of the visible universe will have been mapped out: we will have seen everything there is to see. The question will then be: what does it all mean? 

Solving the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy (which together account for 95% of the universe) and finding life elsewhere in the universe won’t be possible without statistical and data analysis methods that have yet to be invented. No human eye will ever inspect all the 50 billion galaxies in the visible universe, nor the 7,500 billion potentially habitable planetary systems: we need machines to do it for us. 

This lecture explores how artificial intelligence (AI) will meet the challenges posed by big data to help answer fundamental questions of the cosmos.

A transcript of the lecture is available here.

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