[Repost] Turing Award Winner John Hopcroft Shares Wisdom on CCTV's Voice

Original Title: Voice | Turing Award Winner John Hopcroft Shares Wisdom

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Editor's Note

Recently, John Hopcroft, a visiting professor at Peking University and the Director of PKU Center on Frontiers of Computing Studies, was featured on CCTV's Voice, a television program aimed at hosting high-level academic talks in a way that are accessible to the general public. Voice touches on some of the most pressing issues facing people, especially youth, today.


Writer: Trevor, Pu Hairui
Editors: Amanda Hu
Photos: CCTV, PKU Center on Frontiers of Computing Studies
Designer: Pu Hairui
Video: CCTV


Hopcroft is a theoretical computer scientist from the United States. He received both his master's degree and Ph.D. from Stanford University, then went on to lecture at both Princeton and Cornell. In 1986, Hopcroft received the Turing Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of computer science, for his achievements in the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures. Since then, Hopcroft has gone on to win numerous other awards for his lifetime of work in the industry, cementing his place as a pioneer of computer science.



Though Hopcroft only officially came to Peking University in 2017, Hopcroft is no stranger to China. He has worked to improve computer science education in countries around the world, and has been in China for decades. Hopcroft's dedication to promoting education in China has led him becoming a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, earned him the Chinese Friendship Award, and his position as a visiting professor here at Peking University. At PKU, Hopcroft designed and teaches a Turing Class, instructing the next generation of computer scientists in China.



On Voice, Hopcroft has praise and words of caution for the use of Artificial Intelligence – currently a hot topic as humanity pushes into new territories in how we use AI. Hopcroft argued that, in the right hands, the ability of AI to solve problems far surpasses human ability. In the wrong hands, however, Hopcroft warned that AI had the potential to pose an unprecedented threat to privacy and security. In the end, however, Hopcroft felt that since AI as governed by hard rules, and was incapable of deeper learning, it should never be able to develop beyond human understanding.



"All new technology has positive things and negative things. And the question is how do you balance this. In some cases, it has to be by law. I think that AI is gonna have many positive things, but we've got to be careful about the negative things it will also have."

— John Hopcroft


Professor Hopcroft ended his talk with some more encouraging words. He expressed his confidence that technology will continue to facilitate academic exchange and cultural communication. He envisions a borderless future, where everyone can enjoy a high quality of life.



Inaugurated in 2012, The Voice (《开讲啦》) is a flagship program of China Central Television (CCTV) and its first Youth Public Class on TV. This year, Peking University reached an agreement with the program team of Voice, initiating a PKU Voice serial.