Michael Bess

Chancellor’s Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

Michael Bess is Chancellor’s Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is a specialist in 20th- and 21st-century Europe, with a particular interest in the interactions between social and cultural processes and technological change. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989. His most recent book is Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life in the Bioengineered Society of the Near Future (Beacon Press, 2015); its companion website is http://www.ourgrandchildrenredesigned.org/. His book, The Light-Green Society: Ecology and Technological Modernity in France, 1960-2000, won the George Perkins Marsh prize of the American Society for Environmental History. He has held fellowships from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Fulbright program. At Vanderbilt Bess teaches undergraduate courses on the social and moral implications of human bioenhancement, World War II, twentieth-century Europe, and Western Civilization, as well as specialized seminars on environmentalism, the boundaries of the human, or utopian thought. His graduate courses include a survey of the historiography on twentieth-century Europe, and a semester-long workshop to train graduate students for teaching history at the college level. He is currently working on a book project entitled “What makes us human? From neurons to the Sistine Chapel.”

Participant In:

Embodied AI

Saturday, October 22, 2016
2:30-4:30 pm

Past Event

The increasing appreciation of the body’s role in cognition—that the brain-mind is embedded in a physical, sensory-motor system interacting with the real world—is shedding the dualistic straitjacket that has characterized “classical” artificial intelligence research. So, as proposed by Grady Booch, let’s imagine unleashing a technology platform using natural language processing and machine learning, such as… read more »