ASSC16, Brighton, UK, July 02-06 2012
The 16th meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness We are delighted to announce that the 16th meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness will take place in Brighton, UK, from July 02-06, 2012.

The meeting will be organized by the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex (  Brighton, affectionately known as ‘London by the sea’ is a popular international conference destination.  It is only 49 minutes by train from central London and just 30 minutes from Gatwick International Airport (LGW; there are also easy transport links from Heathrow).  Brighton is a small city (population ~500,000) with conference facilities, hotels, restaurants, pubs, transport links, and the beach all within easy walking distance.  The city is well known for its vibrant scientific, artistic, and digital communities, its café and pub society, and the beauty of the surrounding countryside (the South Downs National Park is just a couple of miles to the north).  And in July, the weather is also usually very good as well!  For more information on Brighton, see

To ensure that ASSC16 is special, we have arranged for it to be held in the superb Dome and Corn Exchange theatre complex, in the heart of Brighton’s artistic quarter ( and is only minutes from the beach.  These heritage buildings date from the early 19th century and were recently refurbished in a £2,000,000 project to provide an unparalled combination of elegance and efficiency.  With the support of the city, we are confident that ASSC16 will not only be a premier scientific meeting, but a citywide celebration of consciousness science.

We already have an exciting line-up of keynote speakers for 2012: Victor Lamme (University of Amsterdam), Tim Bayne (University of Oxford), Tania Singer (University of Zurich), Geraint Rees (University College London), and Josef Perner (University of Salzburg).  We are also delighted to announce a ‘special lecture’ from Christof Koch (Caltech).

In a major change from previous ASSC meetings, ASSC16 will take place over four full days, plus one tutorial day, and will run from Monday to Friday instead of across a weekend.  We have made these changes in order to ensure that excellent scientific content can be combined with enough time for discussion, poster viewing, and the like. We do not expect registration fees to be substantially affected.  We should also point out that the ASSC16 dates do NOT clash with the London Olympics!Calls for proposals for tutorials and symposia will shortly be available on  with a submission deadline of October 30, 2011. On behalf of the local organizing committee, we look forward to welcoming you to Brighton in 2012!

Anil Seth
Zoltan Dienes
Jamie Ward

Searle on the Mind-Body Problem

Searle on the Mind-Body Problem

The following video is a short excerpt from an interview to John Searle about his book Intentionality and Minds, Brains and Science.

Will computers ever achieve consciousness? John Searle, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy and cognitive science at U.C. Berkeley and author of Intentionality and Minds, Brains and Science. He challenges the notion that the human mind operates like a computer, pointing out that intentionality and other human faculties are not achievable through artificial intelligence.


Vol. 1 of the World Scientific Series on Machine Consciousness
Aristotles Laptop
The Discovery of our Informational Mind
by Igor Aleksander (Imperial College London, UK) & Helen Morton (Imperial College London, UK)

Aristotle’s convincing philosophy is likely to have shaped (even indirectly) many of our current beliefs, prejudices and attitudes to life. This includes the way in which our mind (that is, our capacity to have private thoughts) appears to elude a scientific description. This book is about a scientific ingredient that was not available to Aristotle: the science of information. Would the course of the philosophy of the mind have been different had Aristotle pronounced that the matter of mind was information? This “mind is information” assertion is often heard in contemporary debates, and this book explores the verities and falsehoods of this proposition.

Information: The New Kid on the Block
Shannon (1916–2001)
Little Boxes that Reason and Learn
Networks with Internal States
Information Integration: The Measure of Consciousness
Automata and Information Integration
The Philosophy of Information
The Structure of the Informational Mind
Language and Information
The Secret State: Freud and Automata
Detractors and Open Minds
Conclusion: Aristotle’s Laptop

Readership: Philosophers, scientists and those interested in consciousness and machine consciousness; readers of multidisciplinary books on machine analyses of consciousness.





10-11.12.2012, OXFORD

The first conference on the Impacts and Risks of Artificial General Intelligence will take place at the University of Oxford, St. Anne’s College, on December 10th and 11th, 2012 – immediately following the fifth annual conference on Artificial General Intelligence AGI-12 ( AGI-Impacts is organized by the “Future of Humanity Institute” (FHI) at Oxford University through its “Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology”. The two events form the Winter Intelligence Multi-Conference 2012, hosted by FHI.

The conference will explore questions such as: How can we best predict the impact of as future intelligent and superintelligent machines? How can we combine ideas from computer science, mathematics and philosophy to best estimate this impact? What will be the impacts of AGI on the world? Which directions of research should be most explored, and which should be de-emphasized or avoided?   What can we do to best ensure scientific rigour in this non-experimental academic field? What are the best ideas and methods for ensuring both safety and predictability of advanced AI systems? Can we lay the foundations to a field of rigorous study of realistic AGI control methods that lead to implementable security protocols?

The scope is wide, but all papers are expected to be of high quality and with the maximal amount of rigour that is possible for the subject area. We envisage publication of selected submissions in a special journal issue.



World Scientific
Series on Machine Consciousness – Vol. 2

by Pentti O.A. Haikonen

Available now for pre-order at World Scientific and Amazon!

Robots are becoming more human, but could they also become sentient and have human-like consciousness?

What is consciousness, exactly?

It is a fact that our thoughts and consciousness are based on the neural activity of the brain. It is also a fact that we do not perceive our brain activity as it really is — patterns of neural firings. Instead, we perceive our sensations and thoughts apparently as they are. What kind of condition would transform the neural activity into this kind of internal appearance? This is the basic problem of consciousness.

The author proposes an explanation that also provides preconditions for true conscious cognition — the requirement of a direct perceptive system with inherent sub-symbolic and symbolic information processing. Associative neural information processing with distributed signal representations is introduced as a method that satisfies these requirements.

Conscious robot cognition also calls for information integration and sensorimotor integration. This requirement is satisfied by the Haikonen Cognitive Architecture (HCA).

This book demystifies both the enigmatic philosophical issues of consciousness and the practical engineering issues of conscious robots by presenting them in an easy-to-understand manner for the benefit of students, researchers, philosophers and engineers in the field.


The Real Problem of Consciousness
Consciousness and Subjective Experience
Perception and Qualia
From Perception to Consciousness
Emotions and Consciousness
Inner Speech and Consciousness
Qualia and Machine Consciousness
Testing Consciousness
Artificial Conscious Cognition
Associative Information Processing
Neural Realization of Associative Processing
Designing a Cognitive Perception System
Examples of Perception/Response Feedback Loops
The Transition to Symbolic Processing
Information Integration with Multiple Modules
Emotional Significance of Percepts
The Outline of the Haikonen Cognitive Architecture (HCA)
Mind Reading Applications
The Comparison of Some Cognitive Architectures
Example: An Experimental Robot with the HCA
Concluding Notes; Consciousness Explained

Readership: Enthusiasts in cognitive robot research (including not only experts but also hobbyists), as well as university students, researchers and engineers on robots and/or cognitive machines.

250pp (approx.)    Pub. date: Jun 2012
ISBN:   978-981-4407-15-1

Available now for pre-order at World Scientific and Amazon.

BICA 2012

BICA 2012
Annual International Conference on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA), Third Annual Meeting of the BICA Society
Palermo, Italy, October 31st  – November 3rd

Sponsored by:
BICA Society
University of Palermo


The challenge of creating a real-life computational equivalent of the human mind, known as the BICA Challenge, calls for our joint efforts to develop biologically-inspired intelligent agents that can be accepted and trusted by the human society in various roles, on an equal footing with human agents. The main objective of BICA 2012 is to take a significant step forward towards the BICA Challenge.

The topics of BICA 2012 will include (but not be limited to):
– models capable of inducing the sense of presence in artifacts;
– the “critical mass” of a human-level learner;
– emotional competence and social intelligence in artifacts;
– machine consciousness and BICA;
– models of perception, cognition and action;
– robust and scalable learning mechanisms;
– realistic neural networks for BICA;
– human-like episodic and semantic memory;
– metacognition in BICA;
– self-regulated, bootstrapped and meta-learning;
– language acquisition and symbol grounding;
– non-von-Neumann computational systems for BICA;
– a roadmap to the BICA Challenge.

Continue reading “BICA 2012”

Cognition and Consciousness. Retecog Summer School 2012

“Cognition and Consciousness” Retecog Summer School 2012

5-8 June 2012, Menorca, Spain.

Invited Lecturers: Kevin O’Regan, Anil Seth, Ap Dijsterkuis & Arne Öhman.


The Retecog Network fosters interdisciplinary collaboration to promote the advancement of Cognitive Science in Spain. This summer school aims to offer an overview of research in Cognitive Science through the choice of an area of research which provides a clear demonstration of the potential benefits of multidisciplinary cross-fertilization. It is addressed to graduate students, or recent doctors, interested in gaining a broader view of their research topic, and benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration. Participants are expected to present their current projects, either as poster or oral presentation, and will be offered feedback and further support.


The Summer School is addressed primarily to graduate students and recent doctors related to the groups that constitute the Retecog network. They will have their travel and accommodation expenses covered. Number of places is 25. Non-members of the network can also apply; they will just have the accommodation covered.


Contact toni dot gomila -at- uib dot cat before the end of April.

Tutorials will be offered by members of Retecog.Net. They will be introductory, 2-hour sessions, which will provide a quick access to a specific problem related to consciousness. Each student will be able to choose 6, among a those offered. At this moment, confirmed tutorials are:

Antoni Gomila: “Consciousness: why it matters”
Oscar Vilarroya: “Unity of consciousness”
Fernando Martínez-Manrique/Agustín Vicente: “Language and consciousness”
Ricardo Sanz: “Computational models of consciousness”
Raul Arrabales: “Machine consciousness”
Antoni Rodríguez-Fornells: “Unconscious control in the brain”
Miguel A. Salichs: “Perception and Consciousness”
Nacho Serrano: “Methodological problems in the study of consciousness”
Juan González: “Altered states of consciousness”
Xabier Barandiaran: “Subjecting consciousness: habits, habitat and sensorimotor subject”


CFP: Advances in Cognitive and Emotional Information Processing (ACEIP)

Call for Papers
Advances in Cognitive and Emotional Information Processing (ACEIP)

 Submissions are invited for a special session on Advances in Cognitive and Emotional Information Processing (ACEIP) to be held within the 2012 International Symposium on Neural Networks (ISNN), taking place from 11th to 14th July in Shenyang (China).

Cognitive and Emotional Information Processing techniques have encountered a large success within the scientific community, specially due to the impact they naturally have in diverse application fields as commerce, tourism, education and health. A wide number of advanced solutions have been proposed on purpose spanning from User/Web Interfaces and Mobile Computing to Robotics, Ambient Intelligence, and Computer Support to Collaborative Work/Learning. The objective is devoted to adequately interpret humans’ opinions, tastes and needs and consequently provide not only useful direct feedback to them but also a valid and natural support to the interactions they can have between themselves and with smart cooperative environments. This asks for development of expert systems, able to manage large amount of information coming from sensory activity, to intelligently process it, and to promptly and knowledgeably respond to human actions according to natural interaction standards and by means of suitable actuary devices. Information processing therefore plays a central role from this perspective, operating at different levels, from multimodal digital data manipulation to semantic metadata processing, and necessarily encompassing the most challenging computational intelligence paradigms for contextual adaptation, social-emotional competence, and cognitive reasoning abilities. Moreover, if on one hand the distillation of knowledge from such type data is a key factor for most of the applications it must be also said on the other hand that the extremely unstructured nature of these contents and their exponentially growing size make it a very difficult task to be faced. Information scientists working in related areas such as multimedia, machine learning, knowledge management, affective computing or semantic web are invited to contribute to attain the above research aims, by sharing their expertise in this emerging interdisciplinary field, and at the same time paving the way to new exciting research topics in the cognitive and emotional information processing field.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
•  Socio-Emotional Data Processing Techniques and Applications
•  Human Behaviour Analysis and Understanding
•  Cognitive Systems for Multimodal Interaction
•  Cognitive-Emotional Models in Cooperative Scenarios
•  Computational Intelligence Techniques for Affective Computing
•  Semantic Information Processing
•  Multimedia-interfaced Systems for Human-Machine Interaction

•  February 15th, 2012: Due date for Special Session papers
•  April 1st, 2012: Notification of paper acceptance to authors
•  May 1st, 2012: Camera-ready of accepted papers
•  July 11th, 2012: Special Session date

Prospective authors are invited to submit full-length papers (6-8 pages normally and 10 pages maximum) by the submission deadline through the online submission system. The submission of a paper implies that the paper is original and has not been submitted under review or copyright protected elsewhere and will be presented by an author if accepted. All submitted papers will be refereed by experts in the field based on the criteria of originality, significance, quality, and clarity. The authors of accepted papers will have an opportunity to revise their papers and take consideration of the referees’ comments and suggestions. All papers accepted by and presented at BICS 2012 will be published by Springer as multiple volumes of Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence which will be indexed by EI and ISTP. Selected papers will be published in special issues of several SCI journals.

•  Stefano Squartini, Marche Polytechnic University (Italy)
•  Erik Cambria, National University of Singapore (Singapore)
•  Francesco Piazza, Marche Polytechnic University (Italy)
•  Bjoern Schuller, Technical University of Munich (Germany)

For up-to-date information about this CFP, please visit

Retecog 2011 – The Architectures of Mind

ReteCog.Net 2011 Workshop
The Architectures of Mind

Workshop ReteCog.Net 2011: The architectures of Mind
Dates: 4-6 July
Venue: ASLab, Madrid, Spain

ReteCog 2011 is centered around the major topic of COGNITIVE ARCHITECTURE. Unveiling the architecture of the mind is a cornerstone of all our research programmes. The workshop aims to bring together leading scholars, scientists and engineers who use analytic and synthetic methods both to understand the astonishing processing properties of biological systems, specifically those of the living brain, and to exploit such knowledge to advance engineering methods for building artificial systems with higher levels of cognitive competence.

ReteCog 2011 is a meeting point of mind theorists, cognitive systems engineers and brain scientists where cross-domain ideas are fostered in the hope of getting new emerging insights on the nature, operation and extractable capabilities of brains and minds. This multiple approach is necessary because the progressively more accurate data about brains is producing a growing need of both a quantitative and deep theoretical understanding and an associated capacity to manipulate these data and translate it into engineering applications rooted in sound theories. ReteCog 2011 is intended for both i) life scientists who use and develop mathematical and engineering approaches for a better, system-level understanding of the cognitive behavior of complex biological systems and ii) technology researchers that aim to understand and build systems with higher cognitive competences. ReteCog 2011 is organized to foster collaboration patterns that encourage cross-fertilization across the workshop domains topics. This emphasizes the role of as a major meeting point for researchers and practitioners in the areas of natural and artificial cognitive systems.

Debates across disciplines will enrich researchers with complementary perspectives from diverse scientific fields. To help in this direction of tight interaction, the workshop will accept a maximum of 50 communications.

Continue reading “Retecog 2011 – The Architectures of Mind”

Lectures on Machine Consciousness – Madrid 2011

Lectures on Machine Consciousness – Madrid – February 2011

From January 31st to February 4th, 2011, the Scalab research group from the Carlos III University of Madrid will hold the 4th International Seminar on New Issues in Artificial Intelligence. This edition of the AI postgraduate seminar series will include a keynote lecture on Machine Consciousness by Prof. Antonio Chella.

{mosimage} Antonio Chella was born in Florence on March 4, 1961. In 1988 he obtained his laurea degree cum laude in Electronic Engineering from the University of Palermo and in 1993 he obtained his PhD in Computer Engineering defending a thesis on neural networks for robot vision. From 1992 to 1998 he was a scientific researcher at the University of Palermo, where he became an associate professor in 1998 and a professor in robotics in 2001. He is the head of RoboticsLab. His main research interests concern machine consciousness and cognitive architectures for robotics.He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of machine Consciousness. He is a member of IEEE, AAAI, IAPR, AI*IA, AICA, SIREN.

The seminar lectures will cover, amongst others, an introduction to the field of Machine Consciousness, related work and related fields of scientific study, the emerging importance of Machine Consciousness for AI, current state of research, theoretical foundations, and experimental results.

An abstract of the lectures can be found here. The event will take place (free entrance) at UC3M Leganés Campus. Check the Seminar Program.