Pioneering intelligent futures

Trinity Fellow Professor Huw Price will lead the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence established by a £10 million grant from the Leverhulme Trust.

Over the next decade, the Centre will pioneer interdisciplinary research into the long-term impacts of artificial intelligence.

Technology and science are converging on a future – which may come sooner than we think – in which human-level intelligence can be created in computers. Unconstrained by the metabolic and size limits of the human brain, such machines might be more intelligent than we are.

Huw Price, the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge, said:

Machine intelligence will be one of the defining themes of our century, and the challenges of ensuring that we make good use of its opportunities are ones we all face together. At present, however, we have barely begun to consider its ramifications, good or bad.

With partners at Oxford University, Imperial College, and University of California, Berkeley, the Centre will bring together computer scientists, philosphers, social scientists and cognitive scientists to explore the opportunities and challenges of this ground-breaking technological development.

The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence is one of four new centres established in response to the Trust’s competitive call for ‘bold, disruptive thinking, capable of creating a step-change in our understanding.’

Professor Gordon Marshall, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, said:

The new Leverhulme Trust Centres are a major investment in discovery-led research at a time when funding for scholarly inquiry is under great pressure. They are our vote-of-confidence in the quality of the UK’s outstanding researchers at every level. Each Centre will embrace multi-disciplinary and international collaborations designed to bring the highest calibre of expertise to bear on these exciting areas of inquiry.

Two Cambridge University centres – the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) – played pivotal roles in the proposal to Leverhulme for the new Centre.

CSER Executive Director, Dr Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, said:

The Centre is intended to build on CSER’s pioneering work on the risks posed by high-level AI and place those concerns in a broader context, looking at themes such as different kinds of intelligence, responsible development of technology and issues surrounding autonomous weapons and drones.

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