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AISB event Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: 5th AISB Symposium on Computing, Philosophy and the Question of Bio-Machine Hybrids, 5th and 6th July 2012, Birmingham, UK

-Part of the AISB/IACAP World Congress 2012 in honour of Alan Turing -Organised by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB) & the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP)

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).
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.

The papers in this Symposium cover key related issues including, but not limited to: 
extended mind and extended cognition;  
brain simulation, physicalism, and pan-experientialism;  
the Chinese Room Argument and proof-theoretic justification;  
mathematical models of desire, need and attention;  
Cantor's diagonalization and Turing's cardinality paradox;  
bio-machine hybrids and cognitive technology;  
second-order cybernetics, autopoietic machines and structural determinism;  
computational creativity and swarm creativity;  
animats and bio-machine hybrids;  
Turing Machines and Gdel encoding;  
machine thought, identity, and issues of recognition;  
human implants and prosthetics. 

Symposium Organisers
Prof. Mark Bishop, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK: email:
Dr Yasemin J. Erden, CBET, St Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK: email:
Dr Slawomir J Nasuto, School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Reading, UK: email:
Dr Kevin Magill, Department of Philosophy, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK: email:
Questions should be directed in the first instance to:  

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.