Robots: The Mind in the Machine

Monday, February 29, 2016, 7:30 pm
Venue: Nourse Theater

Series: Conversations on Science

A leading authority on Robotics, Dr. Ayanna Howard is the founder of the Human-Automation Systems (HumAnS) Laboratory and a member of the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech. Prior to that, Dr. Howard was at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she helped develop advanced Artificial Intelligence algorithms that enable rovers to navigate Mars independent of constant human control. Later, Howard applied this AI technology to design drones capable of traversing harsh Arctic terrain to monitor climate change. While today’s rapid advances in robot intelligence have led many to question its moral implications (even causing some key thinkers and scientists to worry that robots might replace or even destroy us), Howard remains optimistic about the benefits of robotics. Her recent work in pediatric therapy programs is just one of the important applications of Howard’s groundbreaking research. She is also passionate about getting underrepresented minorities into engineering and technology. Ayanna Howard will be in conversation with Indre Viskontas, a cognitive neuroscientist with the University of California, San Francisco and a member of the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.