Aspects of Large Language Models

25 May 2023 –  15:00 BST (Hybrid, In-Person & Online)

Murray Shanahan
Professor of Cognitive Robotics, Imperial College London / Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind

To those attending in person
: Staff Common Room (2D17), Priory Road Complex, Bristol

To those attending online | Join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 958 1718 9158 | Passcode: 870726

This talk will cover three things. First, I will present a short tutorial introduction to large language models (LLMs) and how they work. Then I will present some recent DeepMind work on solving multi-step reasoning problems using LLMs. Finally, I will discuss some philosophical issues related to LLMs and our temptation to anthropomorphise them, foregrounding the concept of role-play as an explanatory framing.

Biography:  Murray Shanahan is Professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College London and a Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind. He graduated from Imperial with a First in computer science in 1984, and obtained his PhD in computer science from Cambridge University (King’s College) in 1988. Since then he has carried out work in artificial intelligence, robotics, and cogitive science. He was a postdoc in the Department of Computing at Imperial College from 1987 to 1991, an EPSRC advanced research fellow in the same department from 1991 to 1995, and a senior research fellow in the Computer Science Department at Queen Mary & Westfield College (London) from 1995 to 1998. He went on to be Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, then Reader in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering back at Imperial, rejoining Imperial’s Dept. of Computing as Reader in 2005. He was awarded his professorship there in 2006. In 2017 he joined DeepMind, retaining his professorship at Imperial College on a part-time basis. His publications span artificial intelligence, robotics, logic, dynamical systems, computational neuroscience, and philosophy of mind. His work up to 2000 was in the tradition of classical, symbolic AI. He then turned his attention to the brain and its embodiment. His current interests include neurodynamics, consciousness, machine learning, and the impacts of artificial intelligence. His book “Embodiment and the Inner Life” (Oxford University Press, 2010) was a significant influence on the film Ex Machina for which he was a scientific advisor. His book “The Technological Singularity” was published by MIT Press in 2015. He is active in public engagement. He has been on BBC Radio 3, Radio 4, and Radio 5, Channel 4 (television), and on the BBC’s 6 o’clock news, 10 o’clock news, and Breakfast Time. He has appeared several times at Cheltenham Science Festival, the World Science Festival (New York), and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, and his work has featured in Focus magazine and (several times) in New Scientist. He is married with two children, and spends a lot of time in North Norfolk.

All are Welcome