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Friday Night AI: “Consciousness, Intelligence, and Theory of Mind in Generative AI”

Ann Arbor District Library, DowntownMap

More and more often we hear the question “Could AI systems become conscious?” It’s a question of relevance to technologists and philosophers alike, and without a good understanding of “what’s consciousness”, many out there seem to fall prey to worrisome concerns about the future of AI. Join us for a conversation with AI and philosophy experts on the complexities of intelligence, the nature of consciousness, the role of theory of mind, and the implications on AI’s (and AGI’s) evolving landscape. 

Panelists: Peter Railton, Benjamin Kuipers, Rada Mihalcea


Peter Railton 

Peter Railton is the Kavka Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.  His main research has been in ethics, philosophy of science, and moral psychology, focusing especially on questions about value, objectivity, explanation, and learning. His work includes Facts, Values, and Norms (Cambridge UP, 2003), a collection of essays, and Homo Prospectus (Oxford UP, 2016), an interdisciplinary collaboration with philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science. In the last decade he has been increasingly active on questions concerning artificial intelligence and ethics, work that includes the Uehiro Lectures at Oxford (https://www.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/uehiro-lectures-2022) and various writings and podcasts.


Benjamin Kuipers 

Benjamin Kuipers is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. He came to Michigan from the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as Department Chair. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College, his Ph.D. from MIT. His research in artificial intelligence and robotics focuses on the representation, learning, and use of foundational domains of knowledge, including knowledge of space, dynamical change, objects, and actions. He is currently investigating ethics as a foundational domain of knowledge for robots and other AIs that may act as members of human society.


Rada Mihalcea

Rada Mihalcea is the Janice M. Jenkins Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan and the Director of the Michigan Artificial Intelligence Lab. Her research interests are in natural language processing, with a focus on multimodal processing and computational social sciences. She is an ACM Fellow, a AAAI Fellow, and served as ACL President (2018-2022 Vice/Past). She is the recipient of a Sarah Goddard Power award (2019) for her contributions to diversity in science, and the recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers awarded by President Obama (2009).


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