Contextualizing the Computational Mind

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internal event

Contextualizing the Computational Mind

The Hall

A lunch talk with Mazviita Chirimuuta, exploring the historical and social context of the invention of computers and AI.

As the impressive technological feats of large-scale language models such as Chat-GPT have come to public attention, many voices in the industry have suggested that we are on the threshold of the development of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) - human-like cognition and self-awareness in non-living, digital machines. This talk examines the historical and social context of the invention of computers and AI, machines that, like all machines, are designed to replicate specific forms of productive labor previously performed by humans or other animals. Mazviita Chirimuuta argues that the process of mechanizing thought - the reconfiguration of the concept of intelligence in such a way as affords performance of cognitive tasks by a machine - is similar to other forms of disenchantment we see at the dawn of industrialization. This is a challenge to claims for the equivalence of biological and machine intelligence, and ultimately a reason to doubt that AGI is an imminent possibility.


Originally trained in neuroscience, Mazviita Chirimuuta is a philosopher at Edinburgh University who writes about the history of ideas behind the mind/brain sciences. Her book on colour vision and perceptual reality, Outside Color, was published by MIT Press in 2015. This was recently followed by a new book, The Brain Abstracted, about the ways that the theories developed in neuroscience are a vast simplification of the underlying complexity of brain, mind and body. She is currently doing research on the biological basis of cognition and the philosophical origins of the AI programme.


This is a closed event. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Yasmin Guillén Lange. Press inquiries can be made here.

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