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Cambridge Festival asks: can robots ever truly mimic humans?

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A series of fascinating events can be viewed online by anyone anywhere in the world during the inaugural Cambridge Festival (March 26 – April 4).

The Cambridge Festival 2021
The Cambridge Festival 2021

Could AI help us reach a more equitable and fair society? Should chatbots and AI be built to care and have empathy? If such machines are built, should we consider their moral and legal status? Or are we giving up too much control to machines that are too stupid to handle the tasks they are already charged with?

These questions and many more are set to be debated during the first ever Cambridge Festival - of which the Cambridge Independent is a media partner.

The Cambridge Festival 2021
The Cambridge Festival 2021

Each event, including the launch of a new book, explores artificial intelligence (AI) and its ever-greater impact on how we communicate and interact.

Speakers and moderators include Dr Henry Shevlin, Dr John Zerilli, Dr Kerry Mackereth and Dr Eleanor Drage from the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Gareth Mitchell, BBC Digital Planet, and Dr James Weatherall, vice president of Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, R&D AstraZeneca.

The Cambridge Festival 2021
The Cambridge Festival 2021

The Cambridge Festival - whose sponsors and partners are AstraZeneca and RAND Europe - brings together the popular Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas to host an extensive programme of more than 350 events that tackle many critical global challenges affecting us all.

The Cambridge Festival 2021
The Cambridge Festival 2021

Coordinated by the University of Cambridge, the Festival features hundreds of prominent figures and experts in the world of science, current affairs and the arts, and has four key themes: health, environment, society and explore.

Events include:

  • Secrets and Lights – Professor of materials science Rachel Oliver examines the threats and opportunities that quantum technology poses for secure communication and explores some of the materials that will enable the technologies of the future.
  • Contemporary Significance of Artificial Intelligence for Religion – Dr Beth Singler, AI researcher and an associate research fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, explores the social, philosophical, ethical, and religious implications of advances in AI and robotics.
  • The fine print: Towards wearable electronics – an overview of the latest manufacturing techniques for skin-like or epidermal electronics and sensors that can adhere seamlessly to human skin or even within the body for applications such as health monitoring, medical treatment, and biological studies.
  • What sensors can do for us – Dr Oliver Hadeler from CamBridgeSens discusses the opportunities and challenges arising from the use of sensors in smart phones, health care settings, buildings and more.
  • Imaging and vision in the age of artificial intelligence – Dr Anders Hansen, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, examines the ethical concerns surrounding new developments in AI and demonstrates how systems designed to replace human decision processes, particularly in healthcare, can behave in very non-human ways.
  • How digital interventions influence our health-related behaviours? – Behavioural scientist Dr Katerina Kassavou examines the evidence suggesting that digital health interventions, such as text messaging, the use of smartphone apps, wearables, and websites, are effective at changing behaviours related to health.

The full programme, set to be announced next Monday (February 22), can be viewed from then at festival.cam.ac.uk. Many events require pre-booking, check the events listings on the website.

The Cambridge Festival 2021
The Cambridge Festival 2021

Also, keep up to date with the Festival on social media: Instagram: @Camunifestivals, Facebook: @CambridgeFestival, Twitter: @Cambridge_Fest

Read more:

Cambridge author Dr Michelle Tempest says we shouldn’t fear AI

First Covid-19 vaccinations using Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine administered in Cambridgeshire

University of Cambridge’s Covid-19 screening and sequencing programme has limited spread of virus

AI Ethics course at Cambridge University is a first

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