May Festival event explores whether robots know themselves

May Festival event explores whether robots know themselves

Is it possible for computers to become self-aware? Is 'Alexa' one day going to have the ability to manage your entire life?

An event addressing the topic of self-awareness and whether or not robots and computers could become self-aware – and if they do, should we embrace it - will take place at this year’s University of Aberdeen May Festival.

Dr Mark Sprevak from the University of Edinburgh will deliver the talk and host a question and answer session on Friday, May 25 at 5pm, in the Regent Lecture Theatre.

Dr Sprevak specializes in Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Science and has an interest in issues concerning artificial intelligence and its ethical and philosophical implications. He teaches a course on the ethics of artificial intelligence that investigates questions such as:

    -Does the future of AI pose an existential threat to humanity?
    -What sort of ethical rules should AI like a self-driving car use?
    -Can AI systems be moral agents? If so, how should we hold them accountable?

Dr Stephan Torre, from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Divinity, History and Philosophy commented: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Sprevak to Old Aberdeen for the May Festival.

“The topics he will be exploring have become extremely topical in recent times and I am sure that those who attend the event will find his talk insightful and informative. There will also be plenty of opportunity for people to ask any questions they may have, which will hopefully lead to a lively discussion.

“We are hosting the event as part of a three-year project based here at the University of Aberdeen on first-person thought. The aim of the project is to investigate thoughts about the self, how they differ from thoughts about others, and what implications they have for the nature of the self.”

For more information about Robots Who Know Themselves or to book ticketsvisit

The University of Aberdeen May Festival runs from Friday, May 25 to Sunday, May 27. Tickets are available from Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122 or by visiting