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Tuesday, 21 January 2020, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Can Machines Be Conscious, and Would It Matter If They Were?

Professor Yorick Wilks

The question “Will AI artefacts ever be conscious?” was raised by Turing seventy years ago, and will not go away even though no one quite knows what it means, nor how we would know they were conscious if they were. 

This lecture explores what its role might be, and the ways in which AI scientists have explored and tried to simulate the possibility of consciousness in machines, while asking whether it would add anything useful if they had it.

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Yorick Wilks is Visiting Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Gresham College. He is also Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sheffield, a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, and a Senior Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Professor Wilks is especially interested in the fields of artificial intelligence and the computer processing of language, knowledge and belief. His current research focuses on the possibility of software agents having identifiable personalities.

Professor Wilks's lecture series are as follows:

2019/20 The State of Artificial Intelligence: War, Ethics and Religion

2018/19 The State of Artificial Intelligence: Hype vs Progress

All lectures by the Visiting Professor of Artificial Intelligence can be accessed here.

Current Visiting Professor of Information Technology

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