Francesco Bianchini and Luisa Damiano, "Synthetic Biology and Embodied Artificial Intelligence: Towards Cross-Fertilization"

Second workshop of the series "Chats on Philosophy and the Life Sciences", organized by Antonella Tramacere (University of Bologna) and John Bickle (Mississipi State University).

  • Date: 25 FEBRUARY 2021  from 18:00 to 20:00

  • Type: Chats on Philosophy and the Life Sciences

Embodied AI emerged in the early 90s to overcome the "crisis" of classical AI by focusing the synthetic study of natural cognition on the role played by the body in cognitive processes. Pioneering research programs steered this new axis of AI towards modeling cognitive systems and processes through “embodied agents”. The idea, still guiding the field, is that of “biological-like robots”, which, like living systems, learn about their environment and accomplish cognitive tasks through their body.  Whilst valuing EAI’s results and impacts, debates in philosophy of AI raise concerns on the relevance of the hardware (i.e., robotic) models it produces for the scientific study of natural cognition. SB-EAI is an emerging approach to the development of EAI aimed at exploring the possibility of strengthening EAI’s synthetic study of natural cognition based on modeling techniques developed by Synthetic Biology (SB), a new domain dedicated to the construction of wetware models of biological systems and processes. This talk intends to introduce SB-EAI by focusing on its groundings, its ambitions and its main current developments. We will propose for debate the philosophical exploration of central notions in the synthetic modeling of cognition, such as prediction and artificiality, which currently stimulate philosophical contributions to the establishment of SB-EAI.

Event is free and open to interested philosophers and scientists! Contact John ( or Antonella ( for login instructions.


Antonella Tramacere

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John Bickle

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