Title: Challenges of NeuroAI 

Date: Tuesday, 25 June 2024, 14:30 – 16:00

Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are increasingly linked, shaping each other’s development. Neuroscience has long been an essential driver of progress in artificial intelligence and AI-fed algorithms drive processes in neuroscience and open new therapeutic avenues. Aside from the exciting new knowledge and hopes for unmet needs in brain health, what are the scientific and ethical challenges we are going to face? How are we going to recognise tomorrow what is real and what is fake? How should neuroscientists use AI responsibly and how will next-generation computing inspired by neural networks still respect the ways in which brains work? What are the ethical issues concerning individual privacy, freedom of thought, and mental integrity and how should we preserve the optimal development of children’s brains in an AI environment? NeuroAI may mean AI-inspired from the brain processing of information and how AI impacts or even hybridises with our brain. The 2024 Brain Debate will try to decipher the main issues and how our community should mobilise to tackle them.

This event has been sponsored by the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute.

Speakers and discussants:

Emily Cross
ETH Zürich

Emily leads the Professorship for Social Brain Sciences based at ETH Zürich. Her team embraces interdisciplinarity to explore questions concerning how we learn via observation, acquire motor expertise, derive aesthetic pleasure from the performing arts, and effectively collaborate with embodied robots via research paradigms that span technology, the arts, and biological and social sciences. She is also passionate about training the next generation of research scientists, with a particular focus on the many manifestations of research ethics. Related to this, she is also a member of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee (IBC), where she served as the co-rapporteur of the IBC’s 2022 report on the Ethical Issues of Neurotechnology. Cross’s work features in an eclectic range of publications (e.g., Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Cognition, Journal of Neuroscience, International Journal of Social Robotics, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society), and has attracted funding from a variety of national and international funders, including the Fulbright Commission, European Research Council, ESRC and ESPRC (UK), the NIH and the UK’s Ministry of Defence. Furthermore, Cross has received several prizes recognizing her contributions to the interdisciplinary study of learning and the brain, including the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Psychology, the Jacob Bronowski Award from the British Science Foundation, and a Young Talent Award from the Dutch Neuroscience Society. More recently, her contributions to social robotics have been recognised by her being named on RoboHub’s and Insight Analytics annual lists of top women in robotics, and in 2022 she was selected as one of Australia’s Superstars of STEM.Her research interests are in the field of neuroscience, especially insofar as it addresses the questions of learning and memory. She uses mathematical and computational tools to model synaptic plasticity, and to study its functional implications in artificial neural networks.

Prof. Clopath holds an MSc in Physics from the EPFL and did her PhD in Computer Science under Wulfram Gerstner. Before joining Imperial College, she did postdoctoral fellowships in neuroscience with Nicolas Brunel at Paris Descartes and in the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University. She published highly cited articles in top journals such as Science and Nature, has given dozens of invited talks and keynotes around the world, and received various prizes such as the Google Faculty Award in 2015.

Emily Cross
ETH Zürich
Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni
Sorbonne University and UM6P

Mrs. Seghrouchni is the Executive President of the International Artificial Intelligence Center of Morocco, Ai movement within the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Rabat – Morocco. Recently, Ai movement was granted Center of Category II under the auspices of UNESCO in AI for the African region.Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni is also an exceptional class professor at the Sorbonne University, at the Faculty of Sciences and Engineering in Paris. She is the Principal Investigator of the Thales Endowed Chair of Excellence at Sorbonne University-Abu Dhabi/Center of Artificial Intelligence (Hybrid AI for cognitive radars).Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni holds a Ph.D in computer science from the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6) and a Habilitation to advise Research (HDR) from Sorbonne Paris Nord University in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Worldwide expert in Distributed Artificial Intelligence and Multi-Agent Systems, she was elected General Chair of the Best International Conference in the field (AAMAS 2020, Auckland - New Zealand) among others. She has initiated numerous research projects and developed sustained international collaborations with the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, Japan, the University of Veracruz in Mexico, PUC RIO and the University of São Paulo in Brazil and other European universities. She created and currently leads the “SMA” team at LIP6 - UMR CNRS 7606 for 15 years (2006-2021) and co-leads the research axis “AI and Data Science” involving more than 120 permanent staff.She has directed 35 Doctorates at prestigious universities in Paris and has published 24 books and proceedings of international conferences and over 200 articles. She is a member of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology of UNESCO, member of Expert member of the High Council of Education, Training and Scientific Research (2022 – 2027).Prof. Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni is an expert for the National Commission for Education, Science and Culture (2023-2026).

Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni
Sorbonne University and UM6P
Nandini Chatterjee Singh
UNESCO MGIEP

Nandini Chatterjee Singh is a cognitive neuroscientist and leads Rethinking Learning at UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) in New Delhi, India.After a PhD in Physics in India, her post-doctoral research focused on auditory learning mechanisms in songbirds at UC, Berkeley. She established the first cognitive and neuroimaging laboratory in India (2002-2016) at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) which focused on language, biliteracy, and music. Her work in biliteracy led to the development of DALI (Dyslexia Assessment for Languages of India), the first standardised tool to screen and assess dyslexia in Indian languages. She also established sung speech as an effective tool to improve social communication in children with autism. Her laboratory has also investigated mechanisms underlying the ‘rasa’ in the ragas in Hindustani music.Since 2017, at UNESCO MGIEP, she is focused on translating neuroscience from laboratory to the classroom using interactive, immersive, digital pedagogies. She designs courses that combine social and emotional learning with cognition and academic knowledge using interactive pedagogies like digital games, and digital dialogue. Her current focus is to combine online learning patterns and AI to develop personalised learner journeys for precision learning and learner well-being.Nandini is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in India. She received National Young Women Scientist Award of the Dept. of Biotechnology, India in 2013, the Millenium Alliance Innovation Award for DALI in 2017, and the Reliance-NASI Platinum Jubilee Prize for biological and physical sciences in 2018.

Nandini Chatterjee Singh
UNESCO MGIEP
Karen Rommelfanger
Institute of Neuroethics Think and Do Tank

Dr. Karen S. Rommelfanger is a neurotech ethicist and strategist. She is founder and director of the Institute of Neuroethics (IoNx), the first think tank wholly dedicated to neuroethics. IoNx works with builders, decision-makers, and users to enable trusted neuroscience for all. Her lab explores how evolving neuroscience challenges societal definitions of disease and wellness, cross-cultural neuroethics, and cross-sectoral neuroethics policy. Her boutique consultancy Ningen Neuroethics Co-Lab works specifically on applied neuroethics and strategy. Dr. Rommelfanger maintains a professorship in Emory University’s Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She received her PhD in neuroscience and postdoctoral training in neuroscience, neural engineering, and neuroethics. Her work has been published in high impact journals such as Nature, Neuron, and PNAS and she co-edited the Handbook of Neuroethics. She serves as the first neuroethicist editor at Neuron, served as senior editor of the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience and executive board member of the International Neuroethics Society. In recognition of her neuroethics stewardship in the neuroscience community, she was appointed to the US National Institute of Health (NIH) BRAIN Initiative Neuroethics Working Group and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) ELSI Neurotechnology Panel. She has consulted for the OECD’s implementation guidance for the first international standard in responsible innovation for neurotechnology and served as rapporteur for the Council of Europe to assess proposal for novel neurorights. Dedicated to cross-cultural work in neuroethics, she co-chaired of the Global Neuroethics Workgroup of the International Brain Initiative and served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council. She is a frequent contributor in media on neuroethics strategy, neurotech innovation, and policy.

Karen Rommelfanger
Institute of Neuroethics Think and Do Tank
Marcello Ienca
Technical University of Munich, Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine

Marcello Ienca is a Professor of Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience, and the Deputy director of the Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany. He is also heading the Intelligent Systems Ethics unit at the EPFL, Switzerland. Ienca is currently the Neuroethics Lead of the International Brain Initiative, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Neuroethics Society. He has been representing Switzerland at the OECD in the production of the Guidelines on Responsible Innovation in Neurotechnology. Professor Ienca served as an expert to the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council during the development of the report related to the motion resolution on neurotechnologies and human rights. He is serving as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe.

Marcello Ienca
Technical University of Munich, Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine

Moderators:

Hervé Chneiweiss
Sorbonne University, CNRS, INSERM

Hervé Chneiweiss (MD-PhD) is a neurologist and neuroscientist, senior scientist at CNRS, he has been involved in neurogenetic research on diseases such as cerebellar ataxias and then the molecular mechanisms involved in astrocyte phenotype and plasticity, and the development of brain tumors, their epigenetic and metabolic drivers. Technical approaches include proteomics, metabolism, epigenetics, cell cultures, animal models, single cell. He has published over 170 original scientific papers (h=55, i10 112). He is currently director of the Neuroscience Paris Seine - IBPS research center (CNRS/Inserm/ Sorbonne University).HC is also involved in bioethics, adviser for life sciences and bioethics to the Minister of Research and Technology (2000-02), member of the Scientific Council of the French Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Techniques assesment (2003-16), member of the French National Ethics Committee (2013-17), member and chairman of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (2014-21), member of the WHO committee on Human genome governance (2019-21), expert for OECD on neurotechnology (2015-19), and currently as chairman of the Inserm Ethics Committee and EMBL Ethics Board. Former editor in chief of Medicine / Sciences (2006-16). He has published several books for the general public (latest: ``Notre cerveau``, L’Iconoclaste, 2019).

Hervé Chneiweiss
Sorbonne University, CNRS, INSERM
Irene Tracey
University of Oxford

Professor Irene Tracey is FENS President (2022-2024) and Vice Chancellor at the University of Oxford. She is a former Warden of Merton College, Oxford, as well as Professor of Anaesthetic Neuroscience and Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. She did her undergraduate and graduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, where she focused her research on the early use of magnetic resonance imaging methods to study disease mechanisms in humans. Subsequent to a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, she was a founding member of the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain and was its director from 2005 until 2015.

Alongside senior leadership roles within the University, Irene has served and continues to serve on many national and international committees, such as the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), British Neuroscience Association, the Lundbeck Brain Prize Committee and by appointment of the government, the UK Medical Research Council.

She is a passionate advocate for women in science and is involved in several mentorship schemes. Over the past 25 years, her multidisciplinary research team has contributed to a better understanding of pain perception, pain relief and nociceptive processing within the injured and non-injured human central nervous system using advanced neuroimaging techniques and novel paradigm designs. They have also been investigating the neural basis of altered states of consciousness induced by anaesthetic agents.

Irene Tracey
University of Oxford