Past Meetup

Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics and Consciousness! Prof. Dr. A. Neumaier

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Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics and Consciousness, by Arnold Neumaier (University of Vienna)

Schedule: 2 x 30mins speech blocks by Arnold Neumaier with sufficient time for discussion after each block.

Outlook to the evening given by Mr. Neumaier: Beginning with the requirements needed for the successful functioning of an awakening intelligence in the jungle, the relevant features and capabilities an artificial intelligence must have are discussed. This is done from the point of view of strong AI, i.e., the philosophical position that, in principle, machines can be like us humans in every operational respect.

Such an agent must possess a mind with its supporting hardware that is able to represent the world and its objects in a symbolic, semantically structured way. We discuss how to represent and recognized objects and their relations, how to reason about them, and what it means to gain knowledge and understanding of a previously unknown world. (The details of this would constitute the syllabus of a course on the mathematics of artificial intelligence, hence must be skipped.)

Not being alone in the world, such an agent must also be able to communicate and to derive knowledge from that. How and why communication can succeed is illustrated in another context, the long term project to create an automatic mathematics student. (You can find out more about this project here: )

In order to act efficiently and autonomously, an intelligent agent needs to have emotions, will, and the capability to make constructive decisions based on uncertain knowledge. The agent must be able to observe itself and assess the responses of its actions. This leads to a concept of self and consciousness. It is here that philosophical questions about purpose, values, and freedom arise.

At present, artificial intelligent agents such as outlined here do not yet exist. The prospects of creating such agents in the near or far future will be discussed, and the hopes and fears that may be associated with it. There are surprising relations to stories about ancient experiments in this direction - God's creation of intelligent agents in His likeness whose descendants we are, according to the Christian tradition.

Prof. Dr. Arnold Neumaier is since 1994 Professor at the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Vienna, heading the chair for computational mathematics.

His scientific career in mathematics, computer science and physics brought him from Berlin over universities in England, Germany and the United States of America to Vienna.

The published scientific research of Arnold Neumaier is primarily in the areas of Combinatorics, Numerical Analysis, Optimization, Statistical Data Analysis, Mathematical Language, and Quantum Physics, but his scientific interests are much broader. He gives regularly courses on Artificial Intelligence and touches in these also questions of consciousness. As a practicing Christian he also brings to the evening topic a spiritual viewpoint.

To learn more about the productive life of Prof. Neumaier, his publications and thoughts please visit his extensive web pages at

His web pages are among the internationally most visible ones in the areas of his interest, containing loads of highly useful texts and links around topics of mathematics, quantum physics, artificial intelligence, religion, and many more!

Come and join this unique evening!