Public Lecture: Dr. Jaan Aru – Science of consciousness in the age of artificial intelligence

Event Start Date:
15. May 2024
Event End Date:
15. May 2024
Event Venue:
Auditorium 1, Sverdrups hus (the UiO main library), Blindern Campus, University of Oslo

On May 15th, 2024, Dr. Jaan Aru, Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu.

will give a lecture in our forum:

Science of consciousness in the age of artificial intelligence

Time: May 15th, 2024,  16.00 – 18.00

Venue: Auditorium 1, Sverdrups hus (the UiO main library),Auditorium 1, Sverdrups hus (the UiO main library),  Blindern Campus, University of Oslo

Jaan Aru is an associate professor at the Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu. He did his PhD in the Max Planck Institute of Brain Research and obtained a Marie-Curie fellowship to do a post-doc with Matthew Larkum in Berlin. He has written three books in Estonian and has twice received the national science communication prize in Estonia for his efforts in popularizing science. In 2019, he received the Young Scientist Prize from the President of Estonia.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and the current debate on conscious machines provide a golden opportunity to reassess fundamental assumptions about consciousness. For instance, the rise of the capabilities of AI systems has led to the question of whether these systems might soon be conscious. However, that debate has revealed that we might have underestimated the complexity neurobiological mechanisms underlying consciousness. in this talk, Aru will mainly focus on two issues: First, the architectures of present-day AI algorithms are missing key features of the thalamocortical system that have been linked to conscious awareness in mammals. Second, the evolutionary and developmental trajectories that led to the emergence of living conscious organisms arguably have no parallels in artificial systems as envisioned today. The existence of living organisms depends on their actions and their survival is intricately linked to multi-level cellular, inter-cellular, and organismal processes culminating in agency and consciousness.

Recent articles by Jaan Aru

Aru, J., Drüke, M., Pikamäe, J., & Larkum, M. E. (2023). Mental navigation and the neural mechanisms of insightTrends in Neurosciences

Aru, J., & Rozgonjuk, D. (2022). The effect of smartphone use on mental effort, learning, and creativityTrends in Cognitive Sciences

Gidon, A., Aru, J., & Larkum, M. E. (2022). Does brain activity cause consciousness? A thought experimentPlos Biology, 20(6), e3001651. 

Aru, J., Labash, A., Corcoll, O., & Vicente, R. (2023). Mind the gap: Challenges of deep learning approaches to Theory of MindArtificial Intelligence Review

Tulver, K., Kaup, K. K., Laukkonen, R., & Aru, J. (2023). Restructuring insight: An integrative review of insight in problem-solving, meditation, psychotherapy, delusions and psychedelicsConsciousness and Cognition. 

Aru, J., Suzuki, M., & Larkum, M. E. (2020). Cellular Mechanisms of Conscious Processing. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.