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Mind & World for Humans & Machines

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“Mind & World for Humans & Machines”

Saturday 4th May 2019

Crausaz Wordsworth Building, Robinson College, Cambridge

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Cambridge Muslim College is pleased to announce the 2019 Religion & Science conference supported by the John Templeton Foundation on “Mind & World for Humans & Machines” to be held on Saturday 4th May 2019.

The conference follows on from two earlier conferences on the themes of intelligence and consciousness. The forthcoming conference will continue to focus on scientific, philosophical and theological perspectives on intelligence and will further aim to address how scientific and technological developments are informing our understanding of how humans and machines represent and make epistemic contact with the world, as well as the nature of autonomy, agency and action for humans and machines.

In the past year, AI has continued to advance rapidly yielding notable developments in key areas such as natural language processing and machine vision, which has renewed ambitions of attempting to develop artificial general intelligence. AI systems are now capable of significantly surpassing human capabilities in increasingly complex domains and are having a substantial impact on the nature of research in the physical sciences and humanities. In addition, there has been progress in designing systems that outperform highly ranked players in challenging games that require long-term planning, strategic decision making, and reasoning based on the imperfect knowledge of the microworlds of the games.

However, artificial agents are not intended to remain confined to the virtual microworlds in which they are gestated and trained, and their activities are gradually being transposed into the physical world. In concert with this is the transposition of human activity and presence into the digital world of artificial agents and machine forms of intelligence. This new informational environment is viewed as subsuming both cyber and physical space into a unified artificially constructed virtual world that is better suited to the capacities of machines than humans. The intersection of humans and machines in the shared space of the “information sphere” entails what Luciano Floridi has described as a “re-ontologization of our environment and of ourselves.”

The conference will therefore consider issues arising from the reconstruction of mind and world and how these developments are challenging our understanding of the nature of mind and world from scientific, philosophical and theological perspectives.


08:30am ~ Registration & Breakfast
09:30am Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad – Welcome & Introduction
10:00am Prof Constantine Sandis – AI Intelligibility & Rights to Explanation
11:00am ~ Break
11:25am Aysenur Ünügür Tabur – Artificial Intelligence, Self-Consciousness and Emergentism
12:00pm Ryan Haecker – Avicenna and Artificial Intelligence: From Medieval Logic to Modern Cybernetics
12:30pm ~ Lunch
02:00pm Amal Awad – Unquinable Qualia: Defending Theism by Critiquing a Central Argument for Materialism
02:35pm Fr. Dr. Wojciech Grygiel – TBC
03:10pm Dr. Aku Visala – Where Does the Buck Stop? On the Responsibility of Artificial Beings and Their Creators
03:45pm ~ Break
04:15pm Prof. Joanna Bryson – TBC
05:30pm Dr. Syed Mustafa Ali – The Decolonial Question Concerning Artificial Intelligence
06:15pm ~ Closing Remarks

This talk is part of the Cambridge Muslim College series.

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