Lipson MiV Seminar - "Machine Sentience: Can robots be truly self-aware?"


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Machine Sentience: Can robots be truly self-aware?
Hod Lipson, Engineering and Data Science, Columbia University


Abstract:   “Human beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. An imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?” said Detective Del Spooner to robot, in “I, Robot” (2004) . Machines can create – but can machines be creative? Robots can recognize and imitate emotions, but will they ever feel emotions? Can machines be truly self-aware? These once-philosophical questions are rising in importance as machines are gaining intelligence at an exponential rate. This talk will share past attempts and future directions in building practical machine sentience, and how we can prepare to what might be our most profound invention.

Bio:   Hod Lipson is a professor of Engineering and Data Science at Columbia University in New York, and a co-author of the award winning books “Fabricated: The New World of 3D printing”, and “Driverless: Intelligent cars and the road ahead”. His work on self-aware and self-replicating robots challenges conventional views of robotics, and his TED talk on self-aware machines is one of the most viewed presentations on AI. Lipson directs the Creative Machines Lab, which pioneers new ways to make machines that create, and machines that are creative. For more information visit

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This story was published March 31, 2023.