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If birds could speak (and I could sing)
Start: 15/02/2018, 18:45
End: 15/02/2018, 20:00
Contact: -
Location: A201, Jan Smuts Building

​The Faculty of Science and the Natural Science Student Committee cordially invites you to a public lecture by Prof Christan Van den Broeck entitled "If birds could speak (and I could sing) – deep learning for South African bird song and its implications for (human and artificial) intelligence".


What are artificial neural networks? Where do they come from? What are they, and what do they do? Prof Christian Van den Broeck, a theoretical physicist from Hasselt University in Belgium, introduces an operational convolutional neural network that distinguishes 170 different birdsongs – all birds from South Africa. He shows how they managed to surmount the difficulty of a small and noisy dataset (extracted from the public Xeno-Canto database), and how it revealed a key ingredient about cognition. Lastly, the talk reflects on the nature of intelligence and the opportunities and challenges posed by artificial intelligence.

Please note: this talk is aimed at a broad audience.

About the speaker

Prof Van den Broeck holds a research chair in theoretical physics at Hasselt University in Belgium, and is part-time professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is currently in South Africa as a visiting fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS).