On Tuesday 8th February Prof. Steve Furber will be giving us a seminar talk entitled – Brains, Minds and AI – implications for faith and ethics.
Join us online and in person for the talk followed by Q&A. More details will be available nearer the time.
Abstract: The principles of operation of the brain remain a mystery to science. How does this organ upon which we so critically depend function as an information processor? We know a great deal about the components – neurons – from which the brain is constructed, and brain scanners can show the movement of activity around the brain in response to controlled stimuli, but most of the interesting information processing action as at intermediate scales accessible neither from bottom-up neuroscience nor from top-down imaging. The only instruments currently available to understand these intermediate levels are computer models. Around the world there are many large-scale initiatives aiming to accelerate our understanding of the brain using the formidable computing power available to us today; in Europe, the billion Euro EC Flagship Human Brain Project is a case in point. The last 20 years has also seen an explosion in industrial applications of so-called Artificial Intelligence – AI – systems that now permeate modern life in the form of internet search engines, speech recognition systems, language translation systems, autonomous vehicles and increasingly capable robots. As we understand more about our own brains and minds, and learn to create increasingly intelligent artificial artefacts, what will this mean for our religious beliefs and ethical foundations?