School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

EECS Distinguished Lecture Seminar - Dr Joanna Bryson - Embodiment versus Memetics

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9 December 2015

Time: 3:00 - 4:00pm
Venue: BR 3.02 Bancroft Road Teaching Rooms Peter Landin Building London E1 4NS

Embodiment versus Memetics: Intelligence, Language, and the Place of Robots in Human Society
Dr Joanna Bryson, University of Bath

All welcome (especially students), no pre-booking required.
Talk will be followed by a reception in the Informatics Hub.


The last few years have seen a growing public awareness of the pervasiveness of artificial intelligence (AI).  Yet somehow this awareness has translated into a fear projected into the (near) future rather than an understanding or concern about how the world is already being changed by our technology.  This inaccurate translation is symptomatic of a confusion about the nature of natural and human intelligence, and its role in our species’ success and our societies’ structures.

In this talk I will begin by asserting a few definitions that I will then leverage to communicate my group’s findings about semantics, language evolution, and human sociality.  I will conclude by discussing the implications of our work on the likely current and future impact of AI.

About the speaker:

Joanna Bryson is a Reader at the University of Bath, currently on sabbatical as a Visiting Fellow at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP). She has broad academic interests in the structure and utility of intelligence, both natural and artificial. She has been publishing on AI ethics since 1998, and been engaged in AI policy in the UK since coauthoring the 2011 “EPSRC Principles of Robotics”. Her sabbatical project, “Public Goods and Artificial Intelligence”, includes both basic research in human sociality and experiments in technological interventions.

She holds degrees in Psychology from Chicago and Edinburgh, and in Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh and MIT.  At Bath she founded the Intelligent Systems research group (one of four in their Department of Computer Science).  She also heads Artificial Models of Natural Intelligence, where she and her colleagues publish in biology, anthropology, cognitive science and systems AI.