A series of free talks for the local community, known as The Minerva Lecture Series, are back in Bath with a mixture of in person and online events.

The series of six lectures, organised by the University of Bath, offers people the chance to learn something new or broaden their knowledge on a particular topic while also increasing links between University research and the local community.

The next lecture will take place in-person at the University on the topic of ‘Social Machines: A New Form of Intelligence’ on 25 April from 6-7pm. Nello Cristianini, Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Computer Science, will explore what a social machine is, how it can arise from the interaction of human participants, and if it can be seen as autonomous.

The lecture will be chaired by Roland Pease, science journalist and presenter of the BBC’s Science in Action programme.

Professor Cristianini will explore what we can learn from this perspective about common forms of AI, how we can regulate their use and how society is shaped by them. He will discuss how different disciplines are needed to understand the two-way relationship between AI and society.

Further topical themes planned for this year include sustainable construction, compassion fatigue, and clean air, with lectures running in June, August, October and December.

Rob Cooper, Public Engagement Officer at University of Bath, said: “We are excited to take some of our innovative research out into the community and share and discuss it with local people. It’s a great opportunity to hear from leading researchers and learn something new!

“We know that there are many benefits to attending online and it means people from further afield, even abroad, can join us. So, this year we are trying to provide a bit of both to encourage as many people as possible to join us in a way that’s comfortable and accessible.”

Information about the upcoming lectures will be online and registrations are open for Professor Nello Cristianini’s lecture. Interested people or groups can also sign up to be notified about upcoming lectures on this webpage.