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Murray Shanahan

Professor of Cognitive Robotics, Department of Computing, Imperial College London

Principal Research Scientist, Google DeepMind

Email: m.shanahan@imperial.ac.uk

Twitter: @mpshanahan

Biography

I am a principal research scientist at Google DeepMind and Professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College London. Educated at Imperial College (BSc(Eng) computer science, 1984) and Cambridge University (King’s College; PhD computer science, 1988), I became a full professor at Imperial in 2006, and joined DeepMind in 2017. My publications span artificial intelligence, machine learning, logic, dynamical systems, computational neuroscience, and philosophy of mind. I am active in public engagement, and was scientific advisor on the film Ex Machina. I have written several books, including “Embodiment and the Inner Life” (2010) and “The Technological Singularity” (2015).

Research Overview

I have devoted my career to trying to understand cognition and consciousness in the space of possible minds. This space of possibilities encompasses biological brains, human and animal, as well as artificial intelligence. I like to look at the topic from multiple, interdisciplinary perspectives: computational, empirical, and philosophical. I worked in classical, symbolic AI for over 10 years, concentrating on so-called common sense reasoning. I then spent 10 years or so studying the biological brain, specifically how its connectivity and dynamics support cognition and consciousness. (I have been particularly influenced by global workspace theory.) Then, when AI got exciting again, I migrated to machine learning, where I got involved in deep reinforcement learning. Most recently, I have been working with large language models, trying to understand them from theoretical, philosophical, and practical points of view.

Selected Publications

For a more complete list see my Google Scholar page

Large Language Models

Deep Learning

Brain Dynamics and Connectivity

Consciousness and Philosophy of Mind

Symbolic AI