SPECULATIONS: Artificial Intelligence


Artificial intelligence is changing the way in which human beings work, live and interact with one another. What will it be like in the future? Are we thinking of ways to promote a beneficial social relationship between machines and humans, beyond their more obvious utilitarian dimension?

In the last debate of the cycle, we will speculate about the world of artificial intelligence in the medium and long term. Guests will discuss the potential development of technologies seeking to reproduce human intelligence and language on digital supports, their possible role in the future expansion of humankind to other solar systems, as well as possible scenarios that might lead to two extremes: ranging from the expansion of human intelligence to the extinction of the human race.

05 JUN 2019
WED 16:00

Main Auditorium
Free entry*
Duration 2h

*Free entry (subject to availability), tickets available on the day from 15:00 at the ticket-office

In portuguese and english with simultaneous translation

Live streaming available




Professor of Informatics Engineering in Instituto Superior Técnico, coordinator of the research group in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Agents of NESC-ID


Researcher in Unbabel,  visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computers at Instituto Superior Técnico


Professor of Informatics Engineering, President of Instituto Superior Técnico



Biographies Artificial Intelligence: Speculations

Ana Paiva (FIST e INESC /PT)


Ana Paiva, Professor of Computer Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico, is a graduate of Instituto Superior Técnico and has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Lancaster, in the United Kingdom. She was a visiting lecturer at Imperial College, in the United Kingdom, and is a senior researcher at INESC-ID, where she coordinates the research group on Artificial intelligence and Autonomous Agents. She has lectured and undertaken research in the areas of autonomous agents, complex systems and social robotics. She is the author of over two hundred scientific articles and has coordinated several research projects with Portuguese and European funding. She formed part of the Global Agenda Council in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics of the World Economic Forum, and, since 2016, has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the organisation Science Europe.


André Martins (Unbabel/PT/EUA)


André Martins is a researcher at Unbabel, a visiting lecturer at Instituto Superior Técnico and a member of the Institute of Telecommunications in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2012, he was awarded a dual doctorate in Language Technologies by the University of Carnegie Mellon and Instituto Superior Técnico. His dissertation was awarded an honourable mention by the School of Computer Science of the University of Carnegie Mellon. His research areas include natural language processing, statistical learning and neural networks. He received the prize for the best paper at the ACL 2009 conference and the IBM 2011 Science Prize. In 2018, he received a European Research Council Starting Grant to apply deep learning methods to natural language processing.


Arlindo Oliveira (IST/PT)


Arlindo Oliveira is a graduate of Instituto Superior Técnico and has a PhD from the University of California in Berkeley in Electrotechnical and Computer Engineering. He has been a researcher at CERN, the Electronics Research Laboratory at UC Berkeley, Cadence Design Systems and INESC-ID and the director of various institutions. He is currently the president of Instituto Superior Técnico. He has been a lecturer and researcher in the areas of computer architecture, algorithms, machine learning, bioinformatics and neuroscience. He is the author of over one hundred scientific articles and three books, published in various languages, a member of the Academy of Engineering and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Sinopses Artificial Intelligence: Speculations

DEBATE - june 5, 16h00 – 18h00 – Main Auditorium
Arlindo Oliveira (IST/PT), Ana Paiva (FIST and INESC /PT), André Martins (Unbabel/PT/EUA)


Ana Paiva, Professor of Computer Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) and the coordinator of the research group on Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Agents at Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores - Investigação e Desenvolvimento (INESC-ID)


Artificial intelligence is changing the way in which we human beings live, work and communicate with one another. However, lying at the heart of artificial intelligence is the premise that the actions and decisions of machines are the result of algorithms based on assumptions of rationality. Even with technology that enables machines to learn with data, the final aim is centred on the idea that the machine will optimise the realisation of the tasks that it has to perform. However, if, in the future, machines will be capable of communicating, collaborating and establishing relations with humans, we still need to question their decision-making processes. Foreseeing a future in which hybrid societies of humans and machines will begin to emerge, one of the challenges for artificial intelligence therefore involves the creation of mechanisms that will make it possible to promote and support social and prosocial behaviour in this new type of society where humans and machines coexist with one another. Acts such as donating to charity, helping others or sharing resources are examples of these types of behaviour. Thus, I believe that artificial intelligence will evolve into a more social and prosocial form of AI, challenging a purely utilitarian vision of decision-making by machines, in order to promote empathy and cooperation, and, consequently, making these new hybrid societies more humanitarian and more just.


André Martins is a researcher at Unbabel and a visiting lecturer at Instituto Superior Técnico


In recent years, we have seen a remarkable advance in the area of natural language processing, with the emergence of various disruptive technologies: digital assistants that recognise human speech with great accuracy and are capable of processing and executing instructions; ever more sophisticated machine translation systems that make multilingual communication possible in real time, in hundreds of languages; dialogue systems that are capable of solving concrete problems, such as providing support services to clients or booking a table at a restaurant. This talk will look at some of the deep learning methods underlying these recent technological advances. Some speculations will also be made about what we may expect in the future and what the next challenges will be.


Arlindo Oliveira, Lecturer in Computer Engineering and President of Instituto Superior Técnico


The impacts of artificial intelligence on society have mainly been analysed from a short to medium-term perspective (a few decades at most), a period that already raises many complex questions of a technological, economic, ethical and social nature. Analysing the long-term impacts is understandably even harder, given that it is practically impossible to anticipate, with even the slightest degree of confidence and reliability, what will be the future developments of this and other technologies, over a period of many decades, centuries or even millennia. In this seminar, by using a series of assumptions that I shall make explicit, I shall try to complement the analyses of previous speakers to project the potential for the development of technologies that seek to reproduce human intelligence on digital supports, both those that are designed to create a general, synthetic artificial intelligence and those that aim to recreate natural intelligence, directly emulating the workings of the brain. In this context, I shall analyse the possible role of these technologies in the future expansion of humankind to other planets and other solar systems, as well as looking at possible future scenarios, ranging from the expansion of human intelligence across the Galaxy to the complete extinction of the human race.

Artificial Intelligence: Applications, Implications and Speculations


Artificial intelligence is increasingly imposing itself on the reality of contemporary societies, although new technological developments come into being every day, this phenomenon is not correspondingly reflected in the public sphere. Considering that it is important to know and discuss this reality, this cycle of debates takes a look at the current applications of artificial intelligence reflecting upon its social implications in a whole range of different areas (ranging from health to privacy, employability and other areas) and the way in which the
future can be imagined within this new paradigm.

Between April and June, the cycle is divided into three separate moments, each of them a double programme: a debate with several speakers from the academic and business worlds and a conference.



Artificial Intelligence: Fidelidade-Culturgest cycle
Artificial Intelligence: Fidelidade-Culturgest cycle
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