ARTIFICIAL intelligence and what it means to be conscious will be explored in the next Cuthman Lecture.
Igor Aleksander works at Imperial College, London, as an emeritus professor of neural systems engineering in the department of electrical and electronic engineering.
His talk, Consciousness Science: Does it Annihilate the Soul?, will be at Penfold Hall, Church Street, Steyning, on Tuesday, February 9, at 7.30pm.
Series convenor Christine Aubrey said: “There has been a recent revival of interest in scientific explorations of what it means to be conscious – the inner experience of knowing things, being in the world, and being capable of acting in it – and some of these will be simply presented.
“Does this leave room for the Christian belief in the soul as the essence of being a living being, an essence that lives on after death?
“In Greek times, the soul was that which ‘breathes life’ into the body. For Socrates and Plato, this transcends death, but for Aristotle it became the form, i.e. a property or function, of the body, seriously questioning immortality.
“A return to a belief in immortality of the soul owes much to Thomas Aquinas and his interpretation of Aristotle. Being conscious enters philosophical discussion as a major function of the soul in the 17th century. In current times, being conscious is seen to be based on bodily functions questioning again the immortality of the soul.”
Professor Aleksander worked in artificial intelligence and neural networks and designed the world’s first neural pattern recognition system in the 1980s.
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