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June 4, 2019

Raskar’s contributions to the field have been innovative, collaborative, and have served in supporting solutions to global problems.  His speech to doctoral graduates mirrored his work, challenging graduates to consider how they too can tackle some of society’s biggest problems by, “thinking global” and “acting local”.  Reminding graduates that the power of a Carolina degree, also comes with the responsibility to give back.

In his speech, Raskar spoke about our willingness to trust one another’s personal experiences, as well as the technology needed to help us navigate making some specific decisions in our lives; such as when we search for restaurant reviews before selecting a place to eat, or when we determine the best driving routes in order to avoid traffic.  He asked graduates to consider what would happen if we were willing to share some of our most personal experiences – our dreams, challenges, and frustrations – what could we all learn from each other if we developed a shared “road map” to life, rather than just relying on our own “internal GPS”?   

Raskar challenged graduates to think about a world where “Split AI”, a concept he is currently researching, could support us in navigating some of our most difficult societal problems. A practical application of this “God’s eye view”, where “Split AI” could utilize personal, private data, which when collected and interpreted, could help find solutions to problems we cannot solve on our own, could be a possibility.  He asked graduates to consider a world where everyone would have knowledge and access to this information, and it would be used in determining the appropriate “destination, route, and navigation” to solve these problems. He encouraged graduates to follow their passion, and yet consider that they have the responsibility they have to knowing the what, how, and when – the destination, route, and navigation, required to achieve their dreams.  Through this research, conducted by Raskar and others, it may be soon enough that AI would help future graduates to navigate those next steps. 

The department was incredibly excited and proud to welcome back Raskar, he continues to demonstrate the far reaching power of a UNC CS degree. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with our 2019 graduates! Experience the full speech here:

For more about Raskar, read the Graduate School’s preview of his keynote address.