About

Mind and Matter 2021
Foundations of Information, Intelligence and Consciousness

The aim of the conference is to facilitate the interaction between researchers in Multidisciplinary Mind Studies. With advances in the natural sciences and technology, understanding the human mind is no longer a question for just psychology and philosophy, but needs an interdisciplinary approach.  Thus, areas such as cognitive science and consciousness studies bring together a broad spectrum of disciplines to discuss the mind and its place in the physical world, ranging from physics via cognitive neuroscience and artificial intelligence to studies of the phenomenal properties of conscious experience.

Conference questions:

Intelligence

- What happens to moral and legal responsibility, when machines take a key role in various operations?
- How does access to AI from childhood affect the development of human cognition?

Free will and agency

- Do experimental studies of decision making and action imply that conscious free will is an illusion?
- What kinds of freedom are possible for a human being in the world described by physics?

Consciousness

- Can consciousness be understood as integrated information?
- Is new physics needed to understand consciousness?
- What can brain-imaging methods such as EEG, MEG, fMRI and TMS teach us about consciousness?
- Should we try to implement the functions of consciousness in artificial systems in order to further develop AI?

Information

- Could objective and active information be the bridge through which the physical, biological and mental aspects of reality are related?
- How do studies of the Hawking information paradox of black holes, quantum gravity and quantum field theory relate to quantum information theory and quantum computing?
- Can quantum theory, as a modelling tool, help us to understand to cognition and social phenomena?

Background

In 2018 the University of Helsinki chose the research area Mind and Matter - Foundations of Information, Intelligence and Consciousness as one of its planned profiling areas, and in 2019 the Academy of Finland awarded 5,3 million Euros to this area, to fund new tenure track professorships and activities.

The Fetzer Franklin Fund of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust supports Mind-Matter research at the University of Helsinki by providing funds to organize a conference in June 2021.

 

Fetzer Franklin Fund logo