Experiments in Artificial Human Intelligence

Oct 2, 2018, 12:00 pm1:30 pm
210 Dickinson Hall



Event Description

Judea Pearl recently observed: 'You have the sensation of free will; evolution has equipped us with this sensation. Evidently, it serves some computational function'. His account of this sensation's origins may be correct, yet free will at least seems very different from computation when we are ourselves making use of it. For one thing, unlike machine-based algorithms, our free will seems to us to involve the power to deviate from some sequence of predetermined steps, for no other reason than that we feel like doing so. Is this a significant difference? In this workshop we will attempt to answer this question experimentally, turning ourselves, to the extent possible, into a collective algorithm, or perhaps turning ourselves back into such an algorithm, and seeing what happens to our precious free will when we do this.

Justin E. H. Smith is professor of philosophy and director of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7. He is the author of Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life (2011), The Philosopher: A History in Six Types (2016), and Irrationality: A Human History (2019), all with Princeton University Press. 

  • Department of Philosophy
  • Program in European Cultural Studies