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We are thrilled to share that the NYU Mind, Ethics, and Policy (MEP) Program has now launched!

MEP will conduct and support foundational research about the nature and intrinsic value of nonhuman minds, including biological and artificial minds. In particular, this program aims to advance understanding of the consciousness, sentience, sapience, moral status, legal status, and political status of nonhumans – with special focus on invertebrates and AIs – via research and outreach. The team will include Jeff Sebo as director, me (Sofia) as coordinator, and Ned Block, Samuel Bowman, David Chalmers, Becca Franks, Joshua Lewis, S. Matthew Liao, Claudia Passos-Ferreira, Luke Roelofs, Katrina Wyman, and others as faculty affiliates.

MEP has a variety of projects underway; you can find information about two of them below.

David Chalmers Public Talk

On October 13 2022 at 5:00pm ET, MEP will host a public talk by David Chalmers (University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science and Co-Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness, NYU; author, The Conscious MindConstructing the World, and Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy) on whether large language models are sentient. This talk, which will be co-sponsored by the NYU Center for Bioethics, the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness, and the NYU Minds, Brains, and Machines Initiative, will be free and open to the public, in person and online. You can register to attend here.

Early-Career Award and Workshop

MEP is announcing an Early-Career Award and Workshop on Animal and AI Consciousness. PhD students and early-career faculty (PhD 2017 or later) in any field are invited to submit current or recent (published 2021 or later) work on this topic. Selected authors will receive a $500 award and an all-expenses paid trip to the Association of Scientific Studies of Consciousness Conference at NYU in June 2023. They will also be invited to speak at a Workshop on Animal and AI Consciousness associated with this conference. You can find more information about this award and workshop, including how to submit, here.

Finally, if you have interest in receiving updates from MEP, you can visit our website or sign up for our email list.

If you have interest in participating in our work, please contact Jeff or me to discuss.

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Very exciting project, congratulations


Question: "special focus on invertebrates and AIs " I wonder how much of the focus will be shared by invertebrates, how much by AI?

Thanks Fai! Our year one goals include producing a research agenda and set of research priorities, so we still have an open mind about the details here. But generally speaking, I expect that our early research will focus on foundational questions that matter for both populations, and that insofar as we prioritize between them, our early research will prioritize AIs. (With that said, MEP is one of two new programs that we plan to launch this year, and the other one is more on the animal side. That one will be announced next week, so stay tuned for that!)

Here's the announcement about the new WAW program that Jeff mentioned was forthcoming in his comment reply!


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