What is this

Skynet Today is a site dedicated to providing accessible and informed coverage of the latest AI news and trends.

In other words, the idea is to offer a concise but comprehensive overview of each major AI story that bubbles up in popular media. Such stories attract the public attention more and more often in the past several years and receive a coverage that is sometimes inspired by emotionally resonant but unrealistic science fiction concepts such as Skynet, HAL 9000 or the Three Laws of Robotics. The hope is to get a variety of people with a knowledge of the field to cover the coverage of new events related to AI, and thus offer a more nuanced outlook which helpfully distinguishes the fiction from the factual.

Why are you doing this

Our core beliefs are that:

  • There exist many real and important dangers as well as prospects for present day AI, and it is important to distinguish between fact and fiction1.
  • Therefore, AI researchers and experts have a responsibility to promote understanding of their field within the general public with accessible writing.
  • There are not sufficient efforts by AI researchers and experts to do this sort of writing, and we are qualified and positioned to do it well.

The conversation about AI is becoming increasingly relevant to many domains of society. To make sure it will be a productive one we need reliable and sensible sources of information and education about the topic. We believe such sources are necessary, yet currently few and far between, and that we have enough relevant knowledge to create one.

How are you doing this

To achieve our mission and live up to our standards of quality, clarity, and speed, we have 3 types of coverage which differ in their levels of depth, frequency, and degree of objectivity:

  • Digests: A bi-weekly newsletter with quick takes on the most important recent media stories about AI. Our most frequent and concise coverage.
  • Briefs: Concise yet thorough articles that summarize and comment on an important recent AI story. Literally meant to be ‘brief’, around 1000 words, so you can get a quick impression of the key points of important stories.
  • Editorials: Longer and more in-depth pieces that are more opinionated and less news-specific. These are by far the least frequent and most in depth, and also the most ambitious and insightful.

Who are you

We are a group of researchers, engineers, and working professionals with domain knowledge in AI and investment in this site’s mission. People actively contributing to the site include:

  • Andrey Kurenkov: the site’s creator, lead editor, and occasional contributor of news coverage and editorials. Andrey has BS Computer Science and Electrical Engineering degrees from Georgia Tech, and is currently a graduate student at Stanford where he studies and is doing research in AI. He likes writing blog posts about miscellaneous topics and has written several long-form educational posts about AI.
  • Josh Morton: a contributing author of news coverage and editorials. Josh has a BS CS degree from Georgia Tech, and is currently a software engineer at Google. While at GT he worked in the Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab as well as The Agency (Geogia Tech’s AI club). He likes to juggle.
  • Ben Shih: a contributing author of news coverage and editorials. Ben has BS CS and MS CS degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently completing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering focused on robotics at University of California, San Diego. He likes squishy robots.
  • Aidan Rocke: a contributing author of news coverage and editorials. Discovering practical foundations for intelligent behaviour during the day; rebuilding trust in the information ecosystem at night. I am an applied mathematician trained at Edinburgh University that has previously contributed to OpenWorm, and consulted for companies focused on AI applied to locomotion and control tasks.
  • Viraat Aryabumi: a contributing author of news coverage and editorials. Completed an IT undergraduate degree at CBIT, Osmania University. Currently a Masters student in AI at the University of Edinburgh. Interested in reinforcement learning, bias in AI and AI safety.
  • Abigail See: an editor of news coverage and editorials. Abi is a PhD student at Stanford University specializing in Natural Language Processing and Deep Learning, with a background in pure mathematics. Through her writing and her teaching, she is passionate about communicating technical concepts in an accessible way.
  • Lana Sinapayen: a contributing author of news coverage. Lana is an associate researcher at Sony CSL Tokyo. She specializes in Artificial Life and Artificial Intelligence, but is not a fan of Deep Learning.
  • Jacky Liang: contributing author of news coverage and editorials. He has a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Currently a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, Jacky studies how to make robots more useful and reliable by combining methods in model-based planning and experience-based learning.

How Can I Help

Subscribe! Spread the word! And if you have any ideas for improving the site, definitely let us know:

And if you want to contribute more actively, see our call for collaborators and submissions or just fill out the form below:

  1. Yes, we are quite aware of the existential threat possibilities of AI. The counterpoint to all that is wonderfully conveyed by Rodney Brooks; an AGI or even scary doom AI is certainly possible, but we still seem far from it. In any case, this site’s focus will be on providing perspective on stories in the here and now, not hypotheticals about the future.