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Can humanity survive in the age of information?

Tuesday 8th February 2011 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00


Emeritus Professor Igor Aleksander, Senior Research Investigator, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College.

Information - too much; too little. What is it for and what does the brain do with it?

In this age of information some people seem lost without their i-phones or other informational gadgets while others are totally alienated by them.

What is the role of 'information'?

How does the brain translate it into 'mind'?

Igor Aleksander studied electrical engineering at Witwatersrand University where he was inspired by a lecture by Colin Cherry, a professor at Imperial College, in which he said that engineering could be used to study living things including the brain. He has devoted his career to the quest for a deeper understanding of the mind - an area of study mostly left to philosophers or medics and where most engineers would fear to tread.

He designed and built the world's first neural pattern recognition system in the 1980's, WISARD, and went on to develop a number of machines including MAGNUS a neorocomputational system which he says is "a machine with imagination."

In his quest for a deeper understanding of the mind he developed five axioms of consciousness:  a sense of self, imagination, focussed attention, forward planning and emotion. He discusses this in his book The World in my Mind: my Mind in the World published in 2005.

In this lecture he will be exploring how our minds are coping with the vast amount of data now bombarded them and what long-term effects this might have.

Professor Aleksander is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and has appeared extensively on television and radio, has published 200 scientific papers and written twelve books. He is an intriguing, interesting and very approachable speaker.

This lecture will be of interest to everyone who is interested in what it is to be human.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).
After the lecture a Friends' Table has been reserved at a local restaurant to entertain the speaker and for any of the audience who would like to join us to continue the evening's discussion. A two-course fixed price supper is served including wine, coffee and service charge.
Or if you have already booked for the event and now want to join us for supper Book Supper now

Venue: Sir Alexander Fleming Building

Campus Map reference 33
on the Imperial College London Map