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Professor Murray Shanahan speaks in Cambridge - February 20th 2015

We're pleased to announce the second in the Centre for The Study of Existential Risk's (CSER) monthly seminar series: 

Minds Like Ours: An Approach to Artificial Intelligence Risk

Who:Professor Murray Shanahan (Imperial College London) 

When: Friday 20th February, 16:00 – 17:30

Where: Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site, University of Cambridge

The event is free, open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Professor Shanahan is professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College London, where his research focuses on cognition and consciousness realised both in nature and artificially, and the long-term implications of AI technology, both its potential and its risks.

As well as being scientific advisor for the current blockbuster movie 'Ex Machina', Professor Shanahan was on the Scientific Organising Committee of the recent Chatham House Rule conference on the Future of Artificial Intelligence. The conference was co-organised by CSER and led to an open letter promoting "robust and beneficial development of AI", signed by leaders in AI worldwide. His latest book 'The Technological Singularity' is forthcoming with MIT Press.


Abstract: Writers who speculate about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and its attendant risks often caution against anthropomorphism, the tendency to ascribe human-like characteristics to something non human. An AI that is engineered from first principles will attain its goals in ways that would be hard to predict, and therefore hard to control, especially if it is able to modify and improve on its own design. 

However, this is not the only route to human-level AI. An alternative is to deliberately set out to make the AI not only human-level but also human-like. The most obvious way to do this is to base the architecture of the AI on that of the human brain. But this path has its own difficulties, many pertaining to the issue of consciousness. Do we really want to create an artefact that is not only capable of empathy, but also capable of suffering?

We look forward to seeing many of you on Friday 20th!


Nicholas Robinson
Seminar Series Administrator 
Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

University of Cambridge

Posted on 05/02/2015

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