Bishop and AI news

Stephen Hawking thinks computers may surpass human intelligence and take over the world. This view is based on the ideology that all aspects of human mentality will eventually be realised by a program running on a suitable compu...


Connection Science

All individual members of The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour have a personal subscription to the Taylor Francis journal Connection Science as part of their membership. How to Acce...


Al-Rifaie on BBC

AISB Committee member and Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, Dr Mohammad Majid al-Rifaie was interviewed by the BBC (in Farsi) along with his colleague Mohammad Ali Javaheri Javid on the 6 November 2014. He was a...


Rose wins the Loebne...

After 2 hours of judging at Bletchley Park, 'Rose' by Bruce Wilcox was declared the winner of the Loebner Prize 2014, held in conjunction with the AISB.  The event was well attended, film live by Sky News and the special guest jud...


AISB Convention 2015

The AISB Convention is an annual conference covering the range of AI and Cognitive Science, organised by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour. The 2015 Convention will be held at the Uni...


Yasemin Erden on BBC

AISB Committee member, and Philosophy Programme Director and Lecturer, Dr Yasemin J. Erden interviewed for the BBC on 29 October 2013. Speaking on the Today programme for BBC Radio 4, as well as the Business Report for BBC world N...


Mark Bishop on BBC ...

Mark Bishop, Chair of the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour, appeared on Newsnight to discuss the ethics of ‘killer robots’. He was approached to give his view on a report raising questions on the et...


AISB YouTube Channel

The AISB has launched a YouTube channel: ( The channel currently holds a number of videos from the AISB 2010 Convention. Videos include the AISB round t...



AISB event Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: "Is computation observer-relative?" The 7th AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy, AISB-50, 1-4 April 2014, Goldsmiths, London, UK

* Early bird registration ends TODAY, 28/02/14*

Click below for the full paper schedule as well as the general outline of the conference (including 
evening events):

This includes links to registration and information about fees. Events include a number of special 
guest speakers, as well as art exhibitions, performances, demonstrations, and a theatrical piece. 

The convention is organised by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation 
of Behaviour (AISB)


One of the claims integral to John Searles critique of computational cognitive science and 
Strong AI was that computation is observer-relative or observer-dependent (Searle, The 
Rediscovery of the Mind, 1992). This claim has already proven to be very controversial in 
cognitive science and AI (Endicott 1996; Coulter & Sharrock, Rey, and Haugeland in Preston & 
Bishop (eds.), Views into the Chinese Room, 2002).

Those who come to the subject of computation via physics, for example, often argue that
computational properties are physical properties, that is, that computation is intrinsic to 
physics. On such views, computation is comparable to the flow of information, where information 
is conceived of in statistical terms, and thus computation is both observer-independent and 
(perhaps) ubiquitous. Connected with this are related issues about causality and identity 
(including continuity of), as well as the question of alternative formulations of information.

This symposium seeks to evaluate arguments, such as (but not limited to) Searles, which bear 
directly on the question of what kind of processes and properties computational processes and 
properties are. It thus seeks to address the general question What is computation? in a somewhat 
indirect way. Questions that might be tackled include: Are computational properties syntactic 
properties? Are syntactic properties discovered, or assigned? If they must be assigned, as 
Searle argues, does this mean they are or can be assigned arbitrarily? Might computational 
properties be universally realized? Would such universal realizability be objectionable, or 
trivialise computationalism? Is syntax observer-relative? What kinds of properties (if any) 
are observer-relative or observer-dependent? Is observer-relativity a matter of degree? Might 
the question of whether computation is observer-relative have different answers depending on 
what is carrying out the computation in question? Might the answer to this question be affected 
by the advent of new computing technologies, such as biologically- and physically-inspired 
models of computation? Is it time to start distinguishing between different meanings of 
computation, or is there still mileage in the idea that some single notion of computation 
is both thin enough to cover all the kinds of activities we call computational, and yet still 
informative (non-trivial)? Does Searles idea that syntax is observer-relative serve to support, 
or instead to undermine, his famous Chinese Room argument?

Further information about the symposium can be found here


Dr John Preston, Department of Philosophy, The University of Reading, Reading, UK.
Dr Yasemin J. Erden, Philosophy Programme, St Mary's University, Twickenham, UK.
Prof. Mark Bishop, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK.
Prof. Slawomir J Nasuto, School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Reading, UK.


Dr Mark Coeckelbergh (University of Twente, NL)
Prof. S. Barry Cooper (University of Leeds, UK)
Dr Anthony Galton (University of Exeter, UK)
Dr Bob Kentridge (Durham University, UK) 
Dr Stephen Rainey (St Mary's University College, UK)
Dr Mark Sprevak (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Prof. Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling, UK)

Any questions about fees, registration or membership should be directed to the appropriate 
conference chair in the first instance. 

Please send any queries about the C&P symposium to either me or to Dr John Preston, via the 
information in the symposium link above. 

With best wishes,