Meet The Team
Birkbeck/Institute of Philosophy
Alex Grzankowski is Reader in Philosophy at University of London, Birkbeck College and the Associate Director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London, School of Advanced Study. His current research is on representation and the representational theory of mind, with a focus on artificial minds and on the emotions.
Institute of Philosophy
Barry Smith is a professor of philosophy and director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London, School of Advanced Study. He is also the founding director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. A philosopher of language and mind, his current research is on the multisensory nature of perceptual experience, focusing on taste, smell and flavour. Barry is a frequent broadcaster, who has appeared on BBC One’s Masterchef, BBC Two’s Inside the Factory, on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, as well as In Our Time and Radio 3’s FreeThinking. In 2010 he wrote and presented a four-part series for the BBC World Service called The Mysteries of the Brain and in 2017, wrote and presented a 10-part series for BBC Radio 4 called The Uncommon Senses.
Institute of Philosophy
Emma Borg is Professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London, School of Advanced Study. Emma’s main research interests lie in philosophy of language (where she defends a position known as ‘minimal semantics’), philosophy of mind (where she is interested in what philosophers call ‘mindreading’, and our understanding of chronic pain), and business ethics (asking what private sector organisations owe to society). She has published widely in these areas. Emma was previously Head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Reading and Joint Director of the Reading Centre for Cognition Research.
Institute of Philosophy
Nicholas Shea is Professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London, School of Advanced Study. He is an interdisciplinary philosopher of mind, and of psychology, cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. Nick has recently directed an ERC research project on Metacognition of Concepts. The London School of Economics awarded him the 2020 Lakatos Award for his book Representation in Cognitive Science (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp
Ben Henke is a philosopher specializing in the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and epistemology, with an emphasis on perception.
He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp and a research fellow with the Psyphas Program in Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Haifa.
Imperial College London/DeepMind
Murray Shanahan is Professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College London and a Senior Research Scientist at Google DeepMind. His publications span artificial intelligence, robotics, logic,
dynamical systems, computational neuroscience, and philosophy of mind. His work up to 2000 was in the tradition of classical, symbolic AI. He then turned his attention to the brain and its embodiment. His current interests include neurodynamics, consciousness, machine learning, and the impacts of artificial intelligence. His book "Embodiment and the Inner Life" (Oxford University Press, 2010) was a significant influence on the film Ex Machina for which he was a scientific advisor.
Anandi Hattiangadi is Professor of Philosophy at Stockholm University specialising in the philosophy of mind and language with research interests in the philosophy of logic, the philosophy of cognitive science, epistemology, metaphysics, metaethics, and cultural evolution. Her monograph, Oughts and Thoughts: Rule Following and the Normativity of Content responds to Kripke's (1982) argument for skepticism about meaning and content. She has published extensively on the normativity of meaning and content; the nature and normativity of belief; reductive accounts of meaning and intentionality; the metaphysics of time, and moral supervenience.
The University of Hong Kong
Herman Cappelen is Chair Professor of philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. His current research focus is on the philosophy of AI, Conceptual Engineering, the conceptual foundations of political discourse, externalism in the philosophy of mind and language, and the interconnections between all of these.
Centre for Philosophical Psychology, University of Antwerp
Bence Nanay is Professor of Philosophy and BOF Research Professor (ZAPBOF), and co-director of the Centre for Philosophical Psychology, University of Antwerp. His research focuses on philosophy of mind, philosophy of biology and aesthetics.
Iason Gabriel is Staff Research Scientist at Google DeepMind. He is a political theorist and ethicist based focusing on the moral questions raised by artificial intelligence. Recent work addresses the challenge of AI value alignment, responsible innovation, and human rights.
The University of Hong Kong
Rachel Katharine Sterken is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong, and Principal Investigator of the project Meaning and Communication in the Information Age, which looks at how the nature of linguistic meaning and communication have changed because of advances in information technology, AI, and virtual reality. She studies the nature of online speech and manipulation, fake news, and conceptual engineering. She is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Communicating with AI: Philosophical Perspectives (Oxford University Press).
Jackie Kay is dual-affiliated as a Research Engineer at DeepMind and PhD student at the UCL AI Centre, supervised by Marc Deisenroth and Shakir Mohamed. They have nine years of technical accomplishments in robotics and machine learning, from controlling autonomous sidewalk delivery robots, dexterous robotic hands, and simulated nuclear fusion tokamaks, to conducting robotics and interpretability experiments for Gato, Deepmind’s generalist transformer agent, to evaluating the fairness and safety of foundation models. Their philosophical interests include the epistemology of AI, posthuman and cybernetic perspectives on embodiment and the self, and the ethical development and distribution of new technology.
Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
Ben Steyn is a senior R&D policy wonk at the UK Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). He has recently set up the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), the UK's new R&D funder purpose-built to unlock technological breakthroughs. Ben has also recently finished a PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London, in Philosophy and Political Science. He argues that a new '3rd axis' of political ideology, trading-off value for technology against value for nature, explains many debates across bioethics, AI, and environmental policy.
Julia Haas is Senior Research Scientist in the Ethics Research Team at Google DeepMind. Previously, Julia was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Neuroscience Program at Rhodes College and an affiliated researcher with ANU's Humanizing Machine Intelligence Grand Challenge. Julia’s research is in the philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience with a focus on the nature of valuation and its role in theories of the mind. Her current work includes investigating the possibility of meaningfully moral artificial intelligence.
King's College London
David Papineau is Professor of Philosophy of Science at King’s College London. David has written widely on epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of science and mind. His books include: For Science in the Social Sciences (1979), Theory and Meaning (1990), Reality and Representation (1987), Philosophical Naturalism (1992), Thinking about Consciousness (2002), Philosophical Devices (2012), Knowing the Score (2017), and The Metaphysics of Sensory Experience (2021).