A little story in Reading Central this week informed those interested that Dr Mark Bishop of the Cybernetics department in Reading would be giving a talk on Tuesday 24 October entitled "Dancing with Pixies: strong artificial intelligence and pan-psychism".
So what? Well, Dr Bishop's talk revolves around the topic of machine intelligence, taking as its main tenet the fact that computers are incapable of developing consciousness.
This rings a bell. Why, of course! Our favourite academic Professor Kevin Warwick of the Cybernetics department at Reading University has made a media career out of saying just the opposite.
We've known for some time about academic anger directed at Prof Warwick, but we didn't expect the first signs of public denouement to come from his own department. But hang on, you say, Kevin is a Prof and Mark is just a Doctor.
Looking at their academic CVs, if would appear that Mark Bishop is on a good footing here. He specialises in Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy. One of his main interests is Machine Consciousness. He is also a member of the International Neural Network Society, Society for Machines and Mentality and Association for Scientific Study of Consciousness.
Kev on the other hand "is Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, UK, having previously held appointments at Oxford, Warwick and Newcastle Universities and Imperial College, London, as well as working for British Telecom for six years. On a personal level, Kevin regularly achieves a high level of research support having brought in over £2 million in new research contracts over the last two years."
Maybe that's why we only read about Mark in a tiny Reading newspaper while Kev is paraded around the media talking about fake orgasms, telepathy, cyborgs, intelligence and anything else that pops up into his mind? Funny old world. ®
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