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The Science Behind Thoughts

23 Mar 2015

Can artificial intelligence allow computers to be smarter than humans? How do humans form their first impressions of a person? IHPC’s latest student seminar on “The Science Behind Thoughts” answered these questions and more, posed by secondary school and junior college students.

Close to 200 students and teachers attended the seminar, held at Matrix, Biopolis, in March 2015.

Dr Ilya Farber from the Social and Cognitive Computing department spoke about the first impression forming process, and how people make judgments and decisions about people and issues. He shared about IHPC’s experimental and computational work that investigates social perception and decision-making.

Dr Quek Boon Kiat then presented the emerging field of network science, and showed how networks can help in studying and understanding social interactions and behaviour. He demonstrated simulations of the mental processes underlying people’s decision making, and showed how computational scientists can use these data to generate predictions about people’s personalities.

Dr Yang Yinping brought the students and teachers into the arena of social media platforms, and explained how scientists examine why users switch from one social media platform to another. She dove into how we can use social media to uncover consumer preferences for brands, products and services, and how government agencies can actively use social media to shape policies and manage crises such as disease outbreaks.

Through the panel discussion moderated by the emcee, students and teachers also had the chance to interact with the scientists, and ask questions related to social and cognitive computing.