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Faraday lectures and other events

The termly public lecture in Cambridge is given on some aspect of science and religion by an internationally recognised speaker. Whilst academically rigorous, the lectures are accessible to a multidisciplinary audience. They take place in a variety of venues in Cambridge. The lectures are free of charge and there is no need to book. They are followed by a free drinks reception and an opportunity to talk informally with the speaker.

Video recordings of the lectures are made and the entire archive is available for free download from the Multimedia page on the Faraday Institute website, as are transcriptions of discussions with the speaker and an invited set of guests in the evening following each lecture.

In addition to the termly lecture series The Faraday Institute organises regular lunchtime seminars in Cambridge, one-day, weekend and week-long courses in Britain and abroad, and lectures or panel discussions at Science Festivals and other similar events.

Lecture archive

God, AI and humans - could robots replace humans made in the image of God?

Prof. John Wyatt, Prof. Peter Robinson

5.30 pm Thursday February 15, 2018

Queen's Lecture Theatre
Emmanuel College
St Andrew's Street

The importance of emotional expression as part of human communication has been understood since the seventeenth century, and has been explored scientifically since Charles Darwin and others in the nineteenth century.  Recent advances in psychology have greatly improved our understanding of the role of affect in communication, perception, decision-making, attention and memory.  At the same time, advances in technology mean that it is becoming possible for machines to sense, analyse and express emotions. 

These advances raise new and complex issues.  If machines seem to display emotional intelligence and sensitivity, will it be appropriate for them to become our companions, friends and lovers?  How do we understand the uniqueness of human beings if machines are increasingly able to demonstrate human-like behaviour?  Orthodox Christian thinking sees self-giving love between persons as the highest expression of our humanity, making a profound distinction between I-you and I-it relations.  In what ways will the ubiquity of intelligent machines challenge these traditional distinctions?

Free drinks reception to follow the lecture.