Day 3 Attendees Lord David Sainsbury Minister for Science & Innovation & Chair of Stakeholder Group Prof Colin Blakemore MRC CEO Designate Dr Geoff Botting RSA Mr William Cannell European Commission Dr Chris Cooper IBM Prof Peter Cowley Rolls Royce Mr Tim Donaldon MOD Dr Peter Dunes MRC Dr John Gilby SIRA Mr Terry Green QM Group Dr Peter Greenway DOH Dr Lesley Heppell BBSRC Ms Sue Hewer RSA Ms Angela Murphy AHRB Ms Sanjida O’Connell Science Writer Mr Michael Orme Library House Dr Vince Osgood EPSRC Mr Martin Owen Nesta Ms Martine Parry Kezos Ltd Ms Justina Robson Science Writer Mr Mike Rogers European Commission Mr Duncan Rowe New Scientist Dr Karen Shaw MRC Dr Miriam Shergold Universities U.K. Mr David Smith Global Future Forum Dr Mark Walport Welcome Trust Dr Atul Sharda DFGS Rev Michael Moynagh Tomorrow Project Prof Rob Logie EPS Dr Gary Green BNA Prof Nigel Shadbolt BCS
Topics • Grand Challenges: • Language & speech • 3D • Rhythms • Memory • Social cognition • ?Fusion • ?Action & Robotics • Framework for future work • Collaboration – , critical mass, institutes?, hub-spoke • Technology – fMRI, MEG, cell monitoring • People – training, careers • Gaps
Next Steps • Stakeholder Meeting 15 September • CUGPOPS 10 October • Presentation to MRC Neuroscience Board 16 October • Final Meeting at IBM 20 November
Web Sites www.iac03.com www.foresight.gov.uk
Messages Key Messages • The study of the human brain is a scientifically interesting pursuit for its own sake. It is a major challenge to understand how information is represented in the brain. • The study of how animals and children acquire their sensory capabilities can provide important insights, both for studies of the brain, and for developing engineering approaches. • Researchers need to share ideas so that neuroscientists can address more of the issues that interest researchers in information technology. • The cognitive systems of humans and other animals are shaped by interaction with the environment. Meaningful computational neuroscience needs sensory inputs and motor outputs.
Messages Key Messages • There is rising interest both within the research community and in the wider world in understanding, and designing for, emergent behaviour in complex systems. As the ultimate complex system, the human brain could offer lessons here. • It is important to try to understand cognition in the real world. It can be very productive to have something like a medical application in mind when looking for research challenges. • Effective communication is important, especially in an area with immense social and medical implications. Ethical and social issues - such as privacy and trust - have a tendency to enter the public domain when least expected. (The "grey goo" phenomenon.)
Messages Research • Speech and language is a good example of where you can study human/computer interactions. Traditional speech recognition systems are coming up against limits. IT researchers and brain scientists need to work together to try to understand why people are much better than computers at speech recognition. To make progress we need to look at what humans do that computers cannot. • Are brain rhythms and synchrony important in how the brain works? Or just an artefact? We need to devise research programmes - involving brain scientists and physical scientists - that can pin this down and begin to answer the question of how the brain deals with time without the constantly ticking clock of most computers.
Messages Research • Emotion is a burgeoning area of interest in a number of disciplines, with considerable expertise in the UK. It could be fruitful to look for ways in which this could help in the development of robots, for example. • Having a "good memory" is not about the ability to store and recall large amounts of information. There are subtle differences between the ways in which neuroscientists and computer scientists use the term "memory". Computer scientists need to draw a distinction between archiving and managing information. • Sensor fusion, the combination of messages from different senses, is a key issue. We do not know how the brain achieves this. Research in this area needs a clearer framework for the underlying issues that it can address.
Messages Techniques • Brain research needs access to better instrumentation. There is far too little equipment for MEG, for example. But that needs to work alongside other techniques, such as fMRI. • fMRI and MEG aren't good enough yet. Are we doing enough to improve resolution in space and time? Neuroscientists need to spell out their needs to the people who push forward the frontiers in these techniques. • There should be more commitment to dynamic measurements from large numbers of neurons. • The new instrumentation create huge amounts of data. It may require new computational tools to handle this data flood.
Messages • Having a "good memory" is not about the ability to store and recall large amounts of information. There are subtle differences between the ways in which neuroscientists and computer scientists use the term "memory". Computer scientists need to draw a distinction between archiving and managing information. • The study of biological vision will aid work on autonomous robots. In the other direction, work on artificial vision has reached a stage where it can contribute to biology. There is still need for closer links between artificial and natural vision • Biological systems can perform 3D tasks using visual information. No amount of computer paper will enable machines to do this with traditional approaches. We need to study biological systems for clues as to how to achieve this.
Messages Research centres • "The work was done by young computer scientists and neuroscientists working the same room cheek to jowl." (Terry Sejnowski) There is a huge potential for the interaction of many areas of science, not just the neurosciences and IT. They need to be brought together. • We do not need a generation of people half trained in IT or half trained in brain science. We need experts who understand each other and are willing to work together on common problems and to develop long-term relationships. • We should investigate the case for a British Cognition Research Institute at the centre of a national network.
Messages Missing Links • What about the topics that did not make it onto the IAC agenda? Action? Representation? Self organisation in the nervous system? Interaction, planning and motivation? • Where is robotics in all this? Social robotics will be enormously important in the future. • Some ideas coming out of nanotechnology could have an impact on research in natural and artificial cognitive systems.