SotF – Jon Timmis – Reasons not to be scared of robots

Tuesday 6 August 2013, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


Jon Timmis

Jon Timmis

Come and see live demos of robots and understand some of the technical limitations of robotic systems.

This interactive talk looks at the reality of what robots can do working alone or as a “swarm”. Robots’ work ranges from a single robot detecting strange chemical substances to swarms of robots working together to do tasks that individual robots cannot do; swarms of robots will even attempt to repair themselves. Jon also discusses why we shouldn’t fear “Terminator” robots for quite some time. In fact, sometimes they can’t even stay on a table, let alone direct the next revolution.

Jon looks at what is technically feasible now and the ethics of using robots in areas ranging from help around the house to warfare. Jon also looks at how engineers and scientists have used natural systems, such as ant colonies and immune systems, as inspiration to create robotic swarms.


Jon Timmis  is a Professor in the Department of Electronics at the University of York. His work ranges from helping experimental immunologists develop computer models so they can design better intervention approaches for drugs to improving the fault-tolerance of swarm systems.

His first degree is in Computer Science and his PhD in Artificial Intelligence (both from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth). He currently holds a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, a senior research fellowship of the Society, for his work in self-healing swarm robotic systems.

Jon’s website is at: http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/jtimmis/

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