Commencement speaker Chuck Lorre had a request for some of the 2019 graduates of UCLA Samueli: Can they work on taking his consciousness out of his aging body and upload it into a robot? And it doesn’t have to look like Iron Man.
“You can feel free to transfer my brains’ contents into a Roomba, I’d be fine with that,” said the longtime television executive best known for “The Big Bang Theory” to laughs from the crowd. “Celebrate your graduation but maybe start on this on Monday.”
Citing his concerns about artificial intelligence taking over humanity, Lorre also offered a suggestion for computer science graduates.
“AI needs to see us the same way our dogs do,” he said. “When we walk through the door, all forms of non-organic intelligence should be ridiculously happy to see us.”
The 2019 commencement, held on June 15 at Pauley Pavilion, was the first of two that will bookend UCLA’s centennial. At this year’s UCLA Samueli ceremony, the school awarded 831 bachelor’s degrees, 430 master’s degrees and 129 doctorates. *
“Your new degree represents so much more than the mere completion of requirements,” said Jayathi Murthy, the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean in her welcome. “It is the foundation of knowledge that you will depend on you as you build meaningful careers and give back to your communities. Whatever path you choose, I know you will find that your UCLA Samueli education will boldly guide you to success.”
Student speaker Joshua Abraham, graduating with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering, encouraged his fellow graduates to think back on their shared experiences as Bruin engineers.
“Think about what brought you here today,” he said. “Whether it’s the values you’ve held dearly, or the people whom you’ve crossed paths with. And I’m sure just taking one minute to reflect back on your past, will propel you toward your future.”
While Lorre offered a few tongue-in-cheek suggestions to the graduates as the start of his speech, he saved his real message for the end.
“What other people think of you is none of your business,” Lorre said. “The desire to be liked, admired, praised, or simply noticed is a waste of your time. While it’s very human to want these things, do not pursue them. If they happen, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too.”
“Stop sharing your life, and just start living it,” he said, asking them to abandon all forms of social media.
Lorre added that if students share his message on social media, and whether they liked it or not, he won’t know… he’ll be too busy playing with his dog.
* Official figures for degrees awarded in 2018-19 school year will be higher than the number of students who attended the commencement ceremony.