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Wednesday Talk: January 17, 2024, 2-4 pm – in-person and on Zoom  

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January 17 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Speaker: Kristin Andrews, Research Chair in Animal Minds, York University

Title: “Chat GPT and Bumble Bees: Exploring the Consciousness Question”

Abstract: Is there something it is like to be a garden snail? Can crabs feel pain? Does my Replika really care about me? Such questions about the minds of animals and AIs have become pressing, with claims of sentience in crabs and octopuses leading to a change in UK animal welfare law, and current chatbots begging not to be shut off, expressing love and jealousy, and even encouraging people to leave their spouses. The question of animal consciousness sits uneasily beside the question about consciousness in AI, given that the basis of evidence is so different. Animals don’t talk, but they have evolutionary connection to humans. Current AIs talk, but they lack any evolutionary connection. Given current decision procedures, there is more reason to accept consciousness in the bumble bees and nematode worms than there is in any Large Language Model, because of the gaming problem. To test for AI consciousness, we need a very different kind of decision procedure, one grounded in theory.

Bio: Kristin Andrews is York Research Chair in Animal Minds and Professor of Philosophy at York University in Toronto, and a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. She is the author of several books focusing on other animals, covering topics such as social cognition, personhood, and consciousness. These include How To Study Animal Minds (Cambridge), Chimpanzee Persons: The Philosopher’s Brief (Routledge) and Mindreading Animals: Toward a New Folk Psychology (MIT). Andrews is currently writing a book about social norms in animal cultures. She is on the Board of Directors of the Borneo Orangutan Society Canada.

The link to register is  https://forms.office.com/r/Nc6027LXKa

The deadline to register is the Monday morning the day of the event at 8 am. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants only.


January 17
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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