Cognitive scientist and author to compare natural and artificial intelligence during upcoming lecture

AMES, Iowa – Will artificial intelligence render the human mind irrelevant?

Acclaimed scientist and author Steven Pinker will answer that question when he presents the 2024 Goldtrap Lecture at Iowa State University at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 12, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. The presentation, titled “Natural And Artificial Intelligence: How Rational are Humans?,” is free and open to the public and will include a question-and-answer session. The lecture will be recorded and available to view within 24-36 hours after its conclusion on the ISU Lectures website.

Pinker argues that artificial intelligence, in the form of deep learning networks and large language models, offers another way for humans to enhance natural intelligence. Collective rationality depends on norms that are designed to promote objectivity and truth, Pinker posits.

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist who has been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. His keynotes have helped millions demystify the science behind human language, thought and action. A native of Montreal, Pinker is the Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Previously, he taught at Stanford and MIT. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Pinker is a TED speaker and bestselling author, twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

In his latest book, “Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters,” Pinker argues that humans fail to take advantage of the most powerful tools of reasoning discovered by some of its best thinkers: logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation. The ISU Book Store will be at the event selling copies of his book.

This event is sponsored by the ISU English Department, the linguistics program, the University Library, the Pat Miller Fund, the ISU Department of Psychology and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government.