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AISB event Bulletin Item

FINAL CALL FOR SYMPOSIUM PAPERS: Computing, Philosophy and the Question of Bio-Machine Hybrids, 2nd - 6th July, 2012, Birmingham, UK


Part of AISB/IACAP World Congress in honour of Alan Turing, University of Birmingham

Symposium Overview
Turings famous question can machines think? raises parallel questions about what it means to say
of us humans that we think. More broadly, what does it mean to say that we are thinking beings? 
In this way we can see that Turings question about the potential of machines raises substantial 
questions about the nature of human identity. If, we might ask, intelligent human behaviour 
could be successfully imitated, then what is there about our flesh and blood embodiment that need 
be regarded as exclusively essential to either intelligence or human identity?. This and related 
questions come to the fore when we consider the way in which our involvement with and use of 
machines and technologies, as well as their involvement in us, is increasing and evolving. This is 
true of few more than those technologies that have a more intimate and developing role in our lives,
such as implants and prosthetics (e.g. neuroprosthetics).
The Symposium will cover key areas relating to developments in implants and prosthetics, including:
How new developments in artificial intelligence (AI) / computational intelligence (CI) look set to 
develop implant technology (e.g. swarm intelligence for the control of smaller and smaller 
Developments of implants and prosthetics for use in human,  primate and non-primate animals
The nature of human identity and how implants may impact on it (involving both conceptual and 
ethical questions) 
The identification of, and debate surrounding, distinctions drawn between improvement or repair 
(e.g. for medical reasons), and enhancement or upgrading (e.g. to improve performance) using 
What role other emerging, and converging, technologies may have on the development of implants 
(e.g. nanotechnology or biotechnology)
But the story of identity does not end with human implants and neuroprosthetics. In the last decade,
huge strides have been made in animat devices. These are robotic machines with both active 
biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) components. Recently one of the 
organisers of this symposium, Slawomir Nasuto, in partnership with colleagues Victor Becerra, Kevin
Warwick and Ben Whalley, developed an autonomous robot (an animat) controlled by cultures of living
neural cells, which in turn were directly coupled to the robot's actuators and sensory inputs. 
This work raises the question of whether such animat devices (devices, for example, with all the 
flexibility and insight of intelligent natural systems) are constrained by the limits (e.g. those 
of Turing Machines) identified in classical a priori arguments regarding standard computational 
systems. Both neuroprosthetic augmentation and animats may be considered as biotechnological hybrid systems. Although seemingly starting from very different sentient positions, the potential convergence in the relative amount and importance of biological and technological components in such systems raises the question of whether such convergence would be accompanied by a corresponding convergence of their respective teleological capacities; and what indeed the limits noted above could be.
Suggested topics (in relation to computing and philosophy as pertaining to bio-machine hybrids 
include, but are not limited to):
Cognitive science;
Artificial intelligence; the Turing test; machine understanding; Searles Chinese Room argument;
Foundations of computing;
Simulation of behaviour and agency;
Ambient intelligence;
Artificial life; computational biology; 
Implant technology;
Second order cybernetics;
Enactivism and sensorimotor theories of perception;
Converging technologies (e.g. ICT, Nanotechnology, etc.);
Information / computer / nanotechnology ethics; 
Cognitive / epigenetic robotics.

Symposium Organisers
Prof. Mark Bishop, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK: email: m.bishop@gold.ac.uk
Dr Yasemin J. Erden, CBET, St Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK: email: yj.erden@smuc.ac.uk
Dr Slawomir J Nasuto, School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Reading, UK: email: s.j.nasuto@reading.ac.uk
Dr Kevin Magill, Department of Philosophy, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK: email: k.magill@wlv.ac.uk
Questions should be directed in the first instance to: erdenyj@smuc.ac.uk  

Submission and Publication Details 
Submissions must be full papers.
Submitted contributions should be sent via EasyChair:  
Text editor templates from a previous convention can be found here.
Submitted papers are limited to eight pages.
Each paper will receive at least two reviews.
Selected papers will be published in the general proceedings of the AISB Convention, with the 
proviso that at least ONE author attends the symposium in order to present the paper and 
participate in general symposium activities.
Following the symposium, authors of a selection of the best papers will be invited to submit an 
extended version of the work to a proposed special issue (SI) of the Philosophy and Technology 
journal in 2013. Confirmation of the SI of this journal, and further details about revised 
submissions will be circulated in August 2012.

Important Dates 

Full paper submission deadline: 2 March 2012
Notification of acceptance/rejection decisions: 2 April 2012
Final versions of accepted papers (Camera ready copy): 4th May 2012
Convention: 2-6 July 2012 
Symposium dates: Thursday 5 and Friday 6th July 2012

Additional Information​
Joint AISB / IACAP Congress
The Congress serves both as the year's AISB Convention and the year's IACAP conference.  The 
Congress has been inspired by a desire to honour Alan Turing, and by the broad and deep 
significance of Turing's work to AI, to the philosophical ramifications of computing, and to 
philosophy and computing more generally. The Congress is one of the events forming the Alan Turing Year.
The intent of the Congress is to stimulate a particularly rich interchange between AI and 
Philosophy on any areas of mutual interest, whether directly addressing Turing's own research 
output or not. The Congress will consist mainly of a number of collocated Symposia on specific 
research areas, interspersed with Congress-wide refreshment breaks, social events and invited 
Plenary Talks. All papers other than the invited Plenaries will be given within Symposia.
Conference proceedings
Please note: there will be a separate proceedings for each symposium, produced before the Congress,
and available to conference delegates. Each delegate at the Congress will receive, on arrival, a 
memory stick containing the proceedings of all symposia.
Awards and bursaries
In previous years there have been awards for the best student paper, and limited student bursaries.
These details will be circulated as and when they become available.

Programme Committee
Prof Igor Aleksander (Imperial College London, UK)
Dr Paul Baxter (Plymouth University, UK)
Dr Victor M. Becerra (University of Reading, UK)

Prof Rosalyn W. Berne (University of Virginia, USA)
Prof Mark Bishop (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)
Dr Mark Coeckelbergh (University of Twente, NL)
Dr Edoardo Datteri (University of Milano-Bicocca, IT)
Dr Yasemin J. Erden (St Mary's University College, UK)
Dr Tom Froese (The University of Tokyo, JP)
Dr Phil Hutchinson (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Matt James (BioCentre / St Mary's University College, UK)
Dr Stanislao Lauria (Brunel University, UK)
Dr Rui Loureiro (Middlesex University, UK)
Dr Peter J Lovatt (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
Dr Kevin Magill (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
Dr Richard J. Mitchell (University of Reading, UK)
Dr Slawomir J Nasuto (University of Reading, UK)
Prof Ian Sillitoe (The University of Wolverhampton, UK)
Dr Porfrio Silva (Institute for Systems and Robotics Lisbon, PT)
Dr Mark Sprevak (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Prof Steve Torrance (University of Sussex, UK)