Videos of children and animals used in some of my presentations
(In another directory with separate index)
Short (9 min) schematic video introduction to meta-configured genome
Also on Youtube:
This short edited extract from the next video,
attempts to show the power of a multi-layered genome, in which the more recently
evolved layers are increasingly abstract/schematic, making use of "parameters"
acquired during earlier stages of gene expression, which can vary enormously in
different contexts, leading to enormous differences in adult competences. This
is a far more powerful mechanism than Lamarck's notion of "inheritance of
acquired characteristics", partly because the young organism doesn't merely
benefit from parental learning, but can benefit from, and contribute to, a rich,
jointly constructed external store of information. (Something like
Popper's "Third World".) Mathematical development and linguistic development are
Pre-recorded Invited talk at Sharif Spring School on AI Philosophy, Ethics, and Society, April 2019
Also avilable on Youtube (including text captions if requested)
The video includes samples from two BBC videos
Illustrating the challenges in building weaver-bird nests, using a large number
of long thin leaves.
Deaf children in Nicaragua develop a new sign language cooperatively
(Illusrating my claim that languages are mainly created, cooperatively, rather
than learnt from existing speakers. The latter would not have allowed human
languages to come into existence without some non-human teachers...)
Web page with notes for talk and additional material:
The University: http://www.en.sharif.edu/
Why can't (current) machines reason like Euclid or even human toddlers?
(And many other intelligent animals)
Invited talk for Workshop at IJCAI 2017 Melbourne
Workshop on Architectures for Generality and Autonomy
Online notes for the talk
Pre-recorded Invited talk at IJCAI-17 Workshop
How visual systems can use topology and partial orderings to avoid the need for
probabilistic reasoning. Two short videos (8MB and 78MB).
Added 4 Aug 2016
These videos were originally produced in 2014 as background to a paper arguing
in favour of avoiding the need for precise measurement and probabilistic
reasoning by making use of topological relationships and partial orderings, here
Predicting Affordance Changes
(Steps towards knowledge-based visual servoing)
How Seymour Papert made me understand
gyroscopes (33MB Video)
In 1973 during my year in Edinburgh in Bernard Meltzer's Department of
Computational Logic (one of the four AI departments in Edinburgh at the time) I
was introduced by Sylvia Weir to Seymour Papert, who was visiting for a short
time. I remember very little of the context, but I do remember that while I was
walking with Sylvia and Seymour the subject of gyroscopes came up, and he
offered to give an explanation of their counter-intuitive behaviour that was
unforgettable. This little (unscripted) four minute video (without a gyroscope)
is my clumsy attempt to present the explanation he gave. He claimed I would
never forget the explanation. He was right. Unlike text-book explanations this
explanation is purely qualitative: it allows one to understand in which
(intuitively surprising) direction a gyroscope will move in response to an
attempt to tilt its axis of rotation. The explanation and the prediction are
both qualitative rather than quantitative, but perfectly adequate for explaining
a surprising qualitative feature of the observed motion. (More maths and physics
teaching should be like that, e.g. in primary schools.)
9th December 2012; (Updated 29 Sep 2013)
Adam Ford interviewed Aaron
Sloman (Youtube) at the AGI-2012 Conference, Oxford,
on topics related to the evolution of intelligence and prospects for AI.
A reduced .webm version (120MB) is available here (WEBM).
An (edited) transcript of the interview (HTML)
is now available
Thanks to help from Dylan Holmes (MIT).
Also an expanded PDF version of the transcript, with additional references.
I gave a tutorial presentation the following day, listed below.
Margaret Boden's interview by Adam Ford at AGI 2012 is also available,
on Youtube here.
We both emphasise the importance of getting questions right and give examples of bad
questions, but our examples are different.
What's information? An Answer from Physics, Biology, Mind-Science and Philosophy
Youtube video available:
Also a 'local' version of the video, here:
Local version of
video (WEBM 196MB)
Presentation by Aaron Sloman (Chaired by Aviv Keren) at the Hebrew University,
Jerusalem, on 2nd June 2016, on the final day of:
Workshop on Information and Information-Processing in Science:
Biology, Physics & Brain & Cognitive Sciences.
Unfortunately the audio quality is very poor much of the time.
Instead of power-point (or equivalent) the talk used a web page (slightly
expanded after the talk):
Like most of my talks this emphasises the fact that focusing on information as
something to be transmitted or
encoded is a serious error: information is important for living things
and in engineering primarily because it is used, e.g. for various
types of control.
Requirements for acquisition, encoding, storage, transformation, and
manipulation are all derived from the need to use information, ever since
the very simplest biological organisms.
One of the implications is that languages used for internal purposes
evolved long before languages for communication, but this has largely been
ignored by linguists, philosophers, engineers, etc., though it should have been
recognised long ago by all who develop computer programs.
Full information about the workshop is scattered over several web pages,
Evolved Construction-kits for Building Minds
Two talks in Jerusalem on January 21st 2016 on Evolved Construction Kits.
of the Ada Lovelace Bicentenary Lectures on Computability,
Summary of full programme:
(My two-part lecture available on Youtube and here at Bham):
2 Hour Tutorial lecture at ESSENCE Summer School, Edinburgh 2015.
Construction kits for evolution.
Video recording of my presentation available here (and on essence site below):
of Sloman tutorial 501MB (webm -- slightly better quality)
Video recording of my presentation
and other presentations are available on youtube:
50 Years AI: Symposium at KI 2006, Bremen, Germany
with Marvin Minsky, Aaron Sloman, Wolfgang Bibel, Joerg Siekmann, Wolfgang
Wahlster, Sebastian Thrun, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Simon Schmitt.
The Bremen web site contains the full conference presentations and discussions:
(Thanks to Professor Christian Freksa and colleagues in Bremen.)
One of the lectures has been copied here:
(Updated 27 Mar 2016):
Video of lecture by Aaron Sloman at 50year AI Conference Bremen
2006 234MB (MP4)
Slides for the talk are here
Talk 37: Fundamental Questions - The Second Decade of AI
Towards Architectures for Human-like Machines
10th December 2012 (Installed 20 May 2013, updated 26th June)
Adam Ford recorded a 2 hour 30 mins tutorial on Meta-Morphogenesis presented by Aaron
at the AGI conference, Oxford, the day after the interview listed below.
Tutorial abstract is here
Meta-morphogenesis: How a planet can produce Minds, Mathematics and Music
(along with murder, religious bigotry, and other nastiness).
The video of the tutorial was originally uploaded on Friday 17th May 2013, but with some errors,
and audio deficiencies. A revised version was installed on Adam Ford's web site on 14th June 2013.
Slides finished after the event can be found here (PDF) and
on slideshare.net in Flash format.
The tutorial did not exactly follow the slides I had prepared, partly because it was
highly interactive, partly because there was confusion about the start time, so some
examples were presented while people were still coming in.
"What is computational
thinking? Who needs it? Why? How can it be learnt?"
Invited talk at ALT-C 2012, Manchester, Sept 2012 (without slides).
Slide presentation, revised and extended after the talk can be found here,
and in flash format on slideshare.net
September 2011 (Installed here 12 Jan 2014)
Presentation at BCBT Summer
Sept 2011, Barcelona. (1.7GB)
Barcelona Cognition Brain and Technology Summer school
Compressed WEBM version 197MB stored here. (Replaced .mp4 version 23 Mar 2014)
Title: How to combine science and engineering to solve philosophical problems
NOTE: The BCBT web site provides an apology for sound quality:
the video recording of this talk, the speaker's microphone malfunctioned (@ 00.45).
The sound recording continued with a secondary room microphone, but the
quality was affected, and afterwards enhanced to restore audibility as good as
I first learnt about AI in 1969 when I was a lecturer in philosophy, and
soon became convinced that the best way to make progress in solving a
range of philosophical problems (e.g. in philosophy of mathematics,
philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of science,
epistemology, philosophy of emotions, and some parts of metaphysics) was
to produce and analyse designs for successively larger working fragments
of minds. I think that project can be enhanced by using it to pose new
questions about transitions in the evolution of biological
information-processing systems. I shall try to explain these
relationships between AI, biology and philosophy and show how they can
yield major new insights, while also inspiring important (and difficult)
Full list of talks (with videos)
A collection of video tutorials on Youtube:
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence Programming (emphasising Thinky Programming)
Using an AI language language, Pop11, including a powerful pattern matcher to
simplify list processing, e.g. in programming a Chatbot and various other tasks.
Includes introduction to use of the editor, use of 'espeak' to speak
generated sentences and Haikus.
Under continuous development, as more videos are added.
Invited talk at
4th AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) 2011 Conference, 5th Aug 2011
The biological bases of mathematical competences: a challenge for AGI (.ogv 85MB)
Youtube version: Friday Morning Keynote Sessions (Sloman and Boyden)
The conference was held at Google, Mountain View, USA.
Full set of conference videos is
"TeachShare" Presentation to ComputingAtSchool 8th June 2011"
The Science of Nearly Everything. Including Biology!
(What does AI have to do with Biology?)
Slides for the presentation.
Talk at Automatheo 2011 (April 2011, University of Oxford),
installed here 12 Jul 2013
Speaker: Aaron Sloman (University of Birmingham)
Title: Evolution, robots and mathematics (Poor Audio)
Youtube version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZeqILYDlUo
Local version (Medium Resolution Flash 213MB):
Videos of Talks at SAB2010 Paris, August 2010
Video of Aaron Sloman's talk (aaron_sloman.rm):
Using virtual machinery to bridge the "explanatory gap"
Or: Helping Darwin: How to Think About Evolution of Consciousness
Or: How could evolution (or anything else) get ghosts into machines?
NOTE: The web site seems to have disappeared. As far as I know the videos of all the
keynote talks have been lost. If anyone knows where they are please let me know.
Talks by the other two invited speakers (also lost when I last checked):
2 Feb 2010
learning mathematics requires a teacher, where did the first teachers come
Presentation at Nottingham University, Learning Sciences Research
to Video of the presentation.
Also downloadable (as .wmv) here
(Includes Zeyn Saigol's refutation of my rubber-band star theorem.)
Sussex December 2008
A New Approach to Philosophy of Mathematics: Design a young explorer, able to discover "toddler theorems"
Talk given at Sussex university on 9th December 2008.
The presentation at Sussex, including part of the discussion, was recorded on video by
Nick Hockings and he has kindly made the resulting video available
(in three resolutions).
(Update: unavailable since Dec 2009 -- new host being sought?)
The video recording can also be viewed or downloaded here:
(The .webm version was installed on 2 Feb 2017.)
The PDF slides for the Sussex presentation, as shown on the video,
are here (PDF).
A revised and reorganised version of the slides used for a later presentation on the
biological basis of mathematical competences can be found
Videos from ENF'07 Vienna (Added 20 Nov 2009; more on 5 Jan 2013):
ENF07' 2007 Emulating the Mind
(Link may be broken now.)
1st international Engineering and Neuro-Psychoanalysis Forum (ENF),
Vienna, July 2007
Held in conjunction with:
INDIN 2007 the 5th International Conference on Industrial Informatics,
sponsored by the Industrial Electronics Society of the IEEE
Jaak Panksepp and I both gave invited presentations at ENF, followed by a
Our presentations and the discussion were recorded on video. The recordings are available
here (below) and also at the web site associated with the book of the conference:
Unfortunately the recordings were ruined by the fact that the camera was aimed only at our
faces, completely ignoring what speakers were pointing at on the screen, so that several
sections will be incomprehensible to viewers. However, anyone interested can see my
slides, mentioned below.
Some audio interviews (e.g. with radio journalists) on
philosophy and AI/Cognitive Science
(a) interview about the UKCRC Grand Challenge 5 (Architecture of Brain and Mind), and
(b) a programme presented by Margaret Boden on Radio 3 about AI, consciousness,
Unfortunately, like many BBC radio programmes nowadays it is ruined by lots of spurious,
patronising background noises.
Tutorial at Cosy Kickoff Conference, Bled, October 2004
A Video recording of a tutorial presentation on integration at the Kickoff Conference of
the CoSy project in Bled Slovenia, in October 2004 was recorded on video and is available
both on the CoSy web site in the
and also on the Birmingham Cosy Web site
(.webm file about 183MB)
The Next Big
A discussion chaired by Prof Colin Blakemore for BBC and Open
University in 2002.
"When the science of artificial intelligence was launched in the 50s, its goal was to
match the intellectual achievements of human beings. Why isn't machine intelligence
already far superior to that of people?"
Chaired by Colin Blakemore, the panel consists of
Aaron Sloman (University of Birmingham),
Amanda Sharkey (University of Sheffield),
Igor Aleksander (Imperial College).
Two lectures on Philosophy, AI, and Biology
for Conversion MSc and intercalated year students,
School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, March 2015)
5 Mar 2015 Lecture on Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy
(The first of two lectures in March 2015)
Lecture on 5th March to MSc conversion students and Intercalated Year Students
Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy kindly recorded and made available by
Khalid Khattak (a student on the course).
The original file was very large 1.2GB. This version has been reduced to 165MB
(if it does not display in your browser try downloading it and running it
e.g. with vlc):
NOTE: The beginning of the lecture was disrupted and quite a lot of time
A PDF slide presentation related to this talk is available at
wasted (a) because for unknown reasons the projector failed to work properly
until it had been shut down and restarted (which took several minutes and (b)
because while trying to make it work I accidentally rebooted my laptop, losing
the configuration I had previously set up for the presentation! So the video has
a rather slow start.
17 Mar 2015 Lecture on Vision, Language and Evolution
(The second of two lectures on Philosophy, AI, and Biology, March 2015)
Two Related Themes
Lecture on 17th March to MSc conversion students and Intercalated Year Students
What are the functions of vision?
How did human language evolve?
(Languages are needed for internal information processing)
kindly recorded and made available by Khalid Khattak (a student on the course).
The original file was very large 1.3GB. This version has been reduced to 158MB
(if it does not display in your browser try downloading it and running it
e.g. with vlc).
There's an interruption early on because a colleague turned up after the
presentation had begun, thinking he was supposed to be giving the guest
lecture that day. There had been a miscommunication about dates.
A PDF slide presentation related to this talk is available at
(It is a revised, reorganised, and extended version of the slides used for the
Copyright: All my materials are made available under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0