Course Title

Communicating hot topics in intelligence research


Course Description and Structure

The course will be centred around debating 6 topics in Oxford style (Oxford-Style Debate, Explained) for the full length of the semester. Each debate topic will be composed of 2 phases/sessions, where the intention is for the students to do their own research on the topic while also getting to hear from experts in the field:

  1. Psychology: What is the influence of cognition on perception?

○ Brian Scholl, Chaz Firestone, Rasha Abdel Rahman

  1. Machine learning and/or Robotics: Representations in foundation models: How useful are inductive biases?

○ Sepp Hochreiter, Alan Akbik (focus on NLP)

○ and/or Chelsea Finn, Danny Driess, Marc Toussaint (focus on robotics)

  1. Robotics/”AI”: Is embodiment necessary to advance our understanding of intelligence?

○ Guido de Croon, Lisa Miracchi Titus, Oliver Brock

  1. Intelligence research: Should collective intelligence be studied separately from individual intelligence?

○ Iain Couzin, Michael Levin, Pawel Romanczuk, Jens Krause

  1. Behavioral biology: Between anthropomorphism and anthropodenial: How ‘human-like’ is animal behavior and cognition?

○ Frans de Waal, Lars Chittka, Jens Krause, Alex Kacelnik

  1. Philosophy: Should Integrated Information Theory be considered a pseudoscience?

○ Christoph Koch, Megan Peters, Michael Pauen


Backup topics:

  • Robotics: Is the world (still) its own best model?

○ Leslie Kaelbling, Giulia Vezzani, Oliver Brock

  • Neuroscience: Spikes – Bug or Feature?

○ Romain Brette, Michael Pfeiffer, Henning Sprekeler


Course Organizer

Nicolas Roth


Course Format

In person


Target Group

All students in the SCIoI Master Track(s) as well as all SCIoI members. The only requirements are a diverse interest in intelligence research (expected from all master track students) and the willingness to participate in the debate format. No specific background knowledge in all the discussed fields required,hence it suits both Computer Science (TU & HU) and Mind & Brain students from the planned SCIoI master tracks.