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 IBM’s Watson, in the physical world. Give it eyes, ears, and touch, then let it act in that world with hands and feet and a face, not just as an action of force but also as an action of influence. This is embodied cognition: by placing the cognitive power of such a platform in a robot, in an avatar, an object in your hand, or even in the walls of an operating room, conference room, or spacecraft, we take a Watson’s ability to understand and reason and draw it closer to the natural ways in which humans live and work. In so doing, we augment individual human senses and abilities, giving that technology platform the ability see a patient’s complete medical condition, feel the flow of a supply chain, or drive a factory like a maestro before an orchestra.


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… read more »

Ned Block

Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology and Neural Science, New York University

Ned Block (Ph.D., Harvard), Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology and Neural Science, came to NYU in 1996 from MIT where he was Chair of the Philosophy Program. He works in philosophy of mind and foundations of neuroscience and cognitive science, and is currently writing a book on attention. He is a Fellow of the American… read more »

David Hanson

Founder and CEO, Hanson Robotics Lab

Dr. David Hanson has built a worldwide reputation for creating the world’s most humanlike, empathetic robots, endowed with remarkable expressiveness, aesthetics and interactivity. He has produced many renowned, one-of-a-kind robot characters that have received massive media and public acclaim. Dr. Hanson publishes regularly in materials science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and robotics journals, including SPIE,… read more »

Jeffrey Kephart

Distinguished RSM, Symbiotic Cognitive Systems
IEEE Fellow
Member, IBM Academy of Technology

Jeffrey O. Kephart is a distinguished research scientist at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, NY. Known for his work on computer virus epidemiology and immune systems, electronic commerce agents, self-managing computing systems, and data center energy management, he presently leads research in the area of symbiotic cognitive systems and serves as co-strategist for embodied cognition…. read more »

Francesca Rossi

Research Scientist, IBM T.J. Watson Research Centre
Professor of Computer Science, University of Padova

Francesca Rossi is a research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Centre, and an professor of computer science at the University of Padova, Italy, currently on leave. Her research interests focus on artificial intelligence, specifically they include constraint reasoning, preferences, multi-agent systems, computational social choice, and collective decision making. She is also interested in ethical issues in the… read more »

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