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2017 Gibbons Lecture 1: AI: From Aristotle to Deep Learning Machines

4 May 2017: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

University of Auckland,
Owen G Glenn Building,
Room OGGB 3/260-092,
Level 0,
12 Grafton Road,

There is public parking in the basement of the Owen G Glenn Building at 12 Grafton Road.

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2017 Gibbons Lectures in association with ITP

The Computer Science Department at the University of Auckland, in association with IT Professionals New Zealand, is pleased to announce the Gibbons Lecture Series for 2017. This year the lectures address aspects of the Steps Towards the Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and its Impact.

Machines that mimic cognitive functions which humans associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem solving, are said to be exhibiting Artificial Intelligence or AI. This is a topic that has been has been much in the news in recent times. We have now grown accustomed to computers reading text, to our consulting virtual personal assistants such as Siri and GPS route finders, to controlling by voice, to robotic assembly lines. But now we are assailed with news of coming developments such as driverless cars, facial recognition, and robot physicians. This plethora of very smart technology leads some to believe that we are rapidly approaching The Singularity where the invention of artificial super-intelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization!

Be that as it may, there is a continuous stream of research into advancing AI and corresponding concern about its impact. In this series of lectures we will explore what is happening locally. Setting the scene, our lead speaker for 2017, Professor Nikola Kasabov, from Auckland University of Technology, will discuss the progress of AI from its deepest roots to current research frontiers. Of personal interest to many of us, Professor Hans Guesgen, from Massey University, will be talking about the use of AI to improve the lot of elderly citizens. Associate Professor Marcus Frean, from Victoria University of Wellington, will take a more-critical look at the current hot topic of deep learning. Ending the lecture series, with a discussion of the questionable impacts of AI, will be Associate Professor Ian Watson from the University of Auckland.


Lecture 1: AI: From Aristotle to Deep Learning Machines 

The talk presents briefly the main principles used in AI, from Arostotle's true/false, logic, through fuzzy logic, evolutionary computation and neural networks, to arrive at the current state-of-art in AI - the deep learning machines.

One particular implementation, dubbed NeuCube, developed in the presenter's KEDRI institute, is designed for deep learning of complex data patterns, both in space and time, and to predict future events.  It uses the latest AI techniques called spiking neural networks (SNN) that mimic the learning capabilities of the human brain. This NZ invention has already been demonstrated on various spatio-temporal data and problems, including: brain EEG and fMRI data; brain-computer interfaces; seismic data for earthquake prediction; environmental data for individual stroke prediction; and others.

This is the beginning of understanding complex patterns of changes of variables in Space and Time and their relevance to future events. This is one of the science biggest challenges and has an enormous impact on our understanding of the dynamics of the micro and the macro worlds; from molecular and brain functioning, to geophysical phenomena, and the universe. More information, along with software and data, can be found in:

(Please see for other Gibbons lectures in the series)


About the Speaker

Nikola Kasabov hails from Bulgaria where he received his PhD (Mathematical Sciences) in 1975 from the Technical University of Sofia. He moved to the University of Essex in the UK and, in 1992, to New Zealand as a senior lecturer in the Department of Information Sciences at the University of Otago, quickly advancing to a Professorship by 1999. He moved to AUT in 2002 where he is now the Director of the Knowledge Engineering & Discovery Research Institute and holds a Personal Chair of Knowledge Engineering in the School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences. He has published over 600 works, including 180 journal papers, 12 text books, 28 patents. He has received numerous awards for the quality of his copious research output. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the IITP and the RSNZ.

Professor Kasabov has research interests in Neurocomputation, Artificial Intelligence (Neural Networks, Fuzzy Systems, Evolutionary Computation), Machine Learning, Data Mining and Knowledge Engineering, Neuroinformatics, Bioinformatics, Signal, Speech and Image Processing. Much of his current research in the KEDRI institute is based around his NeuCube neurocomputing technology which is being applied to learning and pattern recognition of spatio-temporal data to predict future events such as strokes and earthquakes. More information, along with software and data, can be found at: 

Registration Details:

Attendance is free, however please register below for catering and to secure your place.

Please note that this session may be video or audio recorded for viewing by other members at a later date. As it is possible that audience members may be incidentally recorded, please let us know if you specifically want to be excluded and we will ensure you are not shown.

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