falling walls at school 2015

Meet the winners


Demis Hassabis (middle), founder and CEO of Google DeepMind, with Joshua Jacobs (left), Nikola Tsarigradski (right) and Dorothe Rappen from Klosterschule vom Heiligen Grab and Tatjana König, Managing Director of the Falling Walls Foundation

Falling Walls at School winners meet Demis Hassabis

It was an eventful day for Nikola Tsarigradski and Joshua Jacobs, the winners of 2015’s edition of Falling Walls at School. The two 16 year-old students from Klosterschule vom Heiligen Grab in Baden-Baden had not only won tickets for the Falling Walls Conference, but also a personal meeting with their speaker of choice, Demis Hassabis. As founder and CEO of the London-based company Google DeepMind, Hassabis’ research focuses on Artificial Intelligence. Together with his team he is aiming at “solving intelligence” through combining “the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms“. 

A complex and very exciting topic for Nikola Tsarigradski and Joshua Jacobs who proved to be very well informed. Having listened carefully to his talk the same day at the Conference, the students took the opportunity to ask Demis Hassabis their own questions. They wanted to know whether Google DeepMind was planning on testing the AI in a real world environment anytime soon, whether it was possible for an AI to become independent or to change its own programme code. Demis Hassabis was impressed with the quality of the questions and tried to answer all of them during their 20-minute talk. He emphasized that Artificial Intelligence must be used responsibly.

We thank the two students and the accompanying teacher Ms Dorothe Rappen very much for their participation and hope they enjoyed their one-day trip to the world of science at the Falling Walls Conference.

For the third time the Falling Walls Foundation had called interested students from all over Germany to participate in this year’s Falling Walls at School competition. Nikola Tsarigradski and Joshua Jacobs had convinced the Falling Walls jury with their outstanding application, explaining why they consider Demis Hassabis’ research in the field of Artificial Intelligence a breakthrough and how this may shape the future.