Alumni visit and Lizard Talk on AI with Lewis Lu ‘19

Alumni, Lewis and PeterThis month we had the pleasure of hosting alumni Peter Hu ‘18 and Lewis Lu ‘19 during their stay in Ojai. Peter is currently studying medicine and working in an orthopedic clinic in Orange County, while Lewis is pursuing his Masters in Finance at the London School of Economics and exploring the world of AI. They enjoyed lodging at their old residence and revisiting fond memories of Besant House. Their week-long visit also attracted visits from former classmates and friends while they enjoyed visiting campus and other favorite haunts in Ojai. 

Lewis Lu speaking on AI

Along with his finance degree and furthering his culinary exploits, Lewis is also the founder of an AI start-up in Berlin. Because AI has become a complicated and exciting subject, Lewis was asked if he would give a Lizard Talk during his stay. On the Friday before his departure, Lewis enthusiastically gave his Lizard Talk to high school students, some of whom he recognized from his time at OGS, when they were mere elementary students! 

Lewis engaged easily with students with humor, authenticity, and curiosity about their interests. He explained how artificial intelligence is already being used in nearly every field of work. Students were able to see “under the hood” in real time as Lewis experimented with different large language models like the well known Chat GPT, explaining how computers respond to different questions and formulate the response with both accuracy and inaccuracy. Lewis portrayed AI as an opportunity for humans to be assisted in their work rather than replaced. He pointed to biomedical research and other fields having incredible breakthroughs with the help of AI, while also acknowledging the very real shift that labor economies face in the future. 

Lewis Lu on artificial inteligenceLewis encouraged students to learn about AI to assist them in their work, including homework, and there were a few raised eyebrows among the faculty present. But reading the tension in the room, he quickly qualified this statement by saying AI is not here to do your work for you, only to assist and deepen learning and understanding of any subject. Disaster was averted for the moment, with the understanding that this is an area academic institutions are grappling with. Oak Grove has had to develop clear rules around how and when students should utilize AI in their school work. 

(To learn more about Oak Groves planning around AI, check out our previous Parent Ed blogpost.) 

One student wondered if AI could become smarter than humans, to which Lewis replied, “We have to define the word ‘smart.’ Computers can certainly solve problems by doing calculations faster than humans, but we are nowhere near the creativity that humans possess.”

Lewis left us with an optimistic view of the future of humanity and AI. A world that might include a universal income. A world where humans will do more of what they love, spending time with loved ones and pursuing creative endeavors while letting the robots take on the more mundane, dangerous, and laborious tasks. The presentation was very informative and enjoyed by all. 

It was wonderful to host Lewis and Peter and inspiring for students to hear these lofty and optimistic views from such an insightful and pragmatic alumnus!

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