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Mike Wimmer on Regulating Robotics, Getting Robots to the Masses: More Intelligent Tomorrow, Episode #21

February 5, 2021
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· 3 min read

Many people get their picture of robots from films, such as I, Robot or The Terminator franchise. Mike Wimmer, a robotics prodigy and CEO and founder at Reflect Social, recently joined Ben Taylor, Chief AI Evangelist at DataRobot, on the DataRobot DataRobot More Intelligent Tomorrow podcast and weighed in on robots from three perspectives:

  • Getting people to interact with and like robots
  • Regulating robots with an official government agency
  • Robots augmenting jobs rather than replacing them

“What’s waking me up in the morning is the idea of trying to get robots out to the masses and get the public to get robots. And we know that’ll be coming soon, but  getting citizens prepared for it is gonna be an interesting thing, because everybody’s used to seeing the Terminator, and everybody’s like, ‘Oh, it’s a robot!’”

“Trying to get that social aspect out there before we even think about getting the technology aspect there is going to be extremely difficult—but it will be worth the wait.”

Mike is currently working on autonomous car projects and also believes that robots are going to be built to augment jobs rather than take them over. However, he also favors creating a regulatory agency for robotics:

“I think there also almost needs to be a robotics council…[a] robotics group that says, ‘Okay, approve or disapprove’ for something to be allowed for consumers—almost like the FDA for robotics.”

Age Does Not Equal Grade Level 

Mike who is still only 12 and is still undecided about attending university foresees changes in the schooling system. He emphasizes that—even with a Mensa-level IQ—top students may not be able to pass certain exams and that knowledge does not equate to the ability to learn.

“This learning versus knowledge versus intelligence thing is something that I’ve noticed in school, and I think they should change.”

Mike also believes that the grade-level system could use a reboot:

“Everybody thinks grade equals age, and that’s honestly not the case. It’s intellect equals grade. So, that’s something that I also think needs to change.”

An Easy Way to Think Outside the Box 

Mike, who taught himself programming and robotics through trial and error and online videos, is now facing the challenges of learning how to pitch investors and operate Reflect Social as a pre-teen CEO. True to form, Mike is doing it his own way:

“I don’t want to be like every other pitch deck. So, having different things is why I want to stick to the normal form with my own twist on it.” 

Mike also thinks that never having been formally trained to think a certain way has worked to his advantage and has helped him gain contracts with the U.S. military. 

“Not being funneled that way actually brings a different perspective. ‘Okay, I may be younger, but I have never been funneled through that before.’ So I may think about things in a different way. People say, ‘Well, think out of the box.’ Well, I always think out of the box because I’ve never been in the box in the first place.”

Never Lose Your Imagination

Mike is not all robotics and business. He loves Corvettes and Disney Cruises, credits his parents for pushing him to be social, and plans to stay forever young in some areas of life: 

“That’s something that I’m gonna try myself to do is never lose my imagination and keep trying to be creative. That’s something I’m definitely gonna try to do.”

To hear more about the future of robotics, the changing face of education in a post-COVID world, and the secret to maintaining a childlike wonder for life, check out Datarobot.com/podcast or http://datarobot.buzzsprout.com/. You can also listen everywhere you already enjoy podcasts, including Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google.

PODCAST
Escaping the Box to Invent the Future

Mike Wimmer is a 12-year-old prodigy who has taught himself programming and deep learning.

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