Our department hosted the INFORTE workshop on Artificial Cognition on 1.-2.12.2016. The workshop’s main organizer was our professor emeritus Kai Koskimies, who became interested in bio-inspired computing related topics during his last years in active work.
The two-day workshop was divided roughly into two – during the first day the experts gave introductions and tutorials into their topics, while the second day was reserved for applications and more advanced discussions. Both days ended with an hour long panel discussion.
The first talk was given by Prof. David Vernon from University of Skövde, Sweden, as he took us through an “Extreme Tutorial” to Artificial Cognition. Prof. Vernon returned to the stage later in the day, as he had agreed to also take care of Prog. Giulio Sandini’s topics, as prof. Sandini had had to cancel his participation at the last minute. 4 presentations in 2 days then for Prof. Vernon, we applaude him!
The second talker was Prof. Marja-Leena Linne from TUT, who works in neuroscience. She concentrated on the biological aspects of cognition, with her talk “Neurobiology of learning”.
The last talk was given by Prof. Steven Furber, from University of Manchester, whose topic was intelligent machines.
The organizers wanted to call this a workshop instead of a seminar to encourage discussions, and they succeeded in that. The fully-booked workshop had a very lively and participating audience, and all talkers got to answer questions both during and after their presentations. There also rarely was a straightforward answer to a question within this topic, so one question lead to many more and there was interesting discussions and even debates going on throughout the two days.
The finale for the workshop was the closing panel where the topic was nothing less than “Future of intelligent machines”. At 4 pm on a dark November Friday, after two days of intense workshopping and powerpoint slides one might expect that there is no energy left to discuss, but so it went that the one hour timeslot was not even enough.