Susan Schneider min

Exploring Intelligence

Susan Schneider

What is intelligence? Join Susan Schneider, one of the world’s most prestigious philosophers of mind, as she disentangles our confusions in thinking through the smarts of conscious and non-conscious systems.

About the Course

Machines are getting smarter. From the conversational stylings of Siri to the increasingly impressive plays of AlphaGo, machine intelligence is getting ever closer to approximating human-style intelligence and surpassing them across multiple domains. Yet what is less clear is how consciousness fits into the picture. And without truly understanding the link between consciousness and intelligence, we might not know what we're creating until its too late.

What exactly is consciousness and how do we know machines don't already have it? If our minds are essentially computer programmes, could we upload ourselves to the internet? Who should be in charge of designing artificial minds? How long will it take for Artificial General Intelligence to be produced? And how optimistic should we be about making friends with robots within our lifetimes?

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and founding director of the Centre for Future Mind, Susan Schneider, explores the current landscape of intelligence and consciousness, the relationship between them, and the future of conscious machines.

By the end of the course, you will have learnt:

  • Whether to be optimistic about living through new technology
  • Whether or not the mind can be a computer programme
  • What the new evolutionary pressures on the next stage of mind design are
  • How Artificial General Intelligence and Superintelligence are connected
  • What the timelines of future machine intelligences and consciousness might be
  • What the limiting factors on synthetic minds are

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.

About the Instructor

  • Susan Schneider

    Susan Schneider is the Founding Director of the Centre for the Future Mind at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the former Distinguished Scholar at the Library of Congress, the author of Artificial You: AI and the Future of Mind and the former NASA Chair at NASA.

    Her work has been covered in venues such as the BBC, the NY Times, PBS, Forbes Magazine, the History Channel, and the Washington Post.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: Why the Mind is Not a Software Programme
    Computer language is often used to describe brain functions: we store memories, retrieve information and process data. But are these descriptions helpful or harmful? Schneider interrogates whether the mind really is like a software programme.
  • Part Two: Consciousness Engineering
    The relationship between intelligence and consciousness in machines is deeply perplexing. Schneider makes the case that just as man is not the measure of all intelligent systems, consciousness might not be the measure of intelligence.