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Intellectual collaborations thrive in environments where ideas are shared, freely and respectfully, among people representing different backgrounds and perspectives. This is why the Neubauer Collegium regularly opens its inquiries and conversations to the public.

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AI: What If We Succeed?

Stuart Russell head shot
Director's Lecture

AI: What If We Succeed?

At this Director's Lecture, Stuart Russell will consider the possibility of developing a new kind of AI that is more beneficial to humans.

The media are agog with claims that recent advances in AI put artificial general intelligence (AGI) within reach. Is this true? If so, is that a good thing? Alan Turing predicted that AGI would result in the machines taking control. At this lecture, presented as part of the Neubauer Collegium Director's Lecture series, Stuart Russell will argue that Turing was right to express concern but wrong to think that doom is inevitable. Instead, we need to develop a new kind of AI that is provably beneficial to humans. Unfortunately, we are heading in the opposite direction.

Following his talk, Russell will be joined in conversation with Rebecca Willett, Professor of Statistics and Computer Science at the University of Chicago and Faculty Director of AI at the Data Science Institute.

A livestream of this event will be available via Zoom.

About the Speakers

Stuart Russell is Professor (and formerly Chair) of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-chair of the World Economic Forum Council on AI and the OECD Expert Group on AI Futures, and he is a US representative to the Global Partnership on AI. His research covers a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence including machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, knowledge representation, planning, real-time decision making, multi-target tracking, computer vision, computational physiology, global seismic monitoring, and philosophical foundations. His textbook Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (with Peter Norvig) is used in over 1,500 universities in 135 countries. His current concerns include the threat of autonomous weapons and the long-term future of artificial intelligence and its relation to humanity. The latter topic is the subject of his book Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control.

Rebecca Willett is Professor of Statistics and Computer Science at the University of Chicago and Faculty Director of AI at the Data Science Institute. Her research is focused on machine learning, signal processing, and large-scale data science.

The Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures

A Conversation with Rick Lowe


A Conversation with Rick Lowe

Neubauer Collegium Curator Dieter Roelstraete and Visiting Fellow Rick Lowe will discuss a new book about Lowe's artistic practice.

Houston-based artist Rick Lowe, a Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow, is widely known for his pioneering contributions to the development of “social practice art.” What few people realize is that he was originally trained as a landscape painter. In recent years, Lowe has increasingly turned back to painting, producing complex multi-panel and quasi-abstract images that are deeply rooted in thirty years of work creating “social sculptures,” recalling the urban fabric of cities around the world that have formed the backdrop of many of his community-based art projects. A new book jointly published by Gagosian and the Neubauer Collegium is the first dedicated to the work of this important American artist, focusing on his painterly practice and its origins in his work in the public sphere. At this event, hosted by the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Neubauer Collegium Curator Dieter Roelstraete will discuss the book with Lowe.

Seminary Co-op Bookstore

The Silk Road and the Rhetoric of Connected History


The Silk Road and the Rhetoric of Connected History

At this lecture Tamara Chin will discuss the narratives that modern historians crafted to explain complex interactions across Asia.

In the second event for the Silk Road Imaginaries project at the Neubauer Collegium, Tamara Chin (Brown University) will share work from her book manuscript The Silk Road Spirit and the Modern Human Sciences, 1870–1970, in which she argues that the modern colonial encounter in and around China prompted unprecedented interest in the connected past. Chin will discuss the narrative frameworks and tropes that modern historians in East Asia, South Asia, and East Africa introduced over the period 1870–1970 for the systematic study of historical contact, showing the profoundly local figurations of the connected past for diverse histories of colonialism, enslavement, and religion. Prasenjit Duara (Duke University) will serve as the respondent.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago with support from a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

About the Speakers

Tamara Chin is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University. She is the author of Savage Exchange: Han Imperialism, Chinese Literary Style, and the Economic Imagination (Harvard, 2014).

Prasenjit Duara
is the Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies at Duke University. He is the author of Culture, Power, and the State: Rural North China, 1900–1942 (Stanford, 1988), Rescuing History from the Nation (University of Chicago, 1995), Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Rowman, 2003), and The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future (Cambridge, 2014).

Neubauer Collegium

Textual Amulets of the Mediterranean World: 1000 BCE - 1000 CE


Textual Amulets of the Mediterranean World: 1000 BCE - 1000 CE

A group of international scholars explore the transition between amulets worn solely as objects to becoming inscribed with text.

People in pre-modern cultures wore many objects on their bodies as amulets, such as roots, seashells, or carved images. But at different points in time all of the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean began to inscribe prayers and charms on linen, papyrus, gold foil, or gemstones, and to use them as amulets. At this conference, a group of international scholars will ask and try to answer numerous questions about what happens at this point of transition and why. Does the more permanent nature of a text imply its continual presence, ever repeating? Were textual amulets created and used by literate elites alone? What is the relationship between text and image on amulets? If gods previously listened to prayers, when did they learn to read? This conference stems from a larger project to publish a representative collection of textual amulets from across the Mediterranean and throughout antiquity, facilitating the study of the various traditions, their connections, and transformations.

This conference will be available on livestream via Zoom.


Clifford Ando
(University of Chicago)

Anke Ilona Blöbaum (Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig)

Korshi Dosoo (University of Würzburg)

Rivka Elitzur-Leiman (Neubauer Collegium, University of Chicago)

Christopher Faraone (University of Chicago)

Anthony Kaldellis (University of Chicago)

Carolina López-Ruiz (University of Chicago)

Margaret Mitchell (University of Chicago)

Árpád Nagy (University of Pécs, Hungary)

Megan Nutzman (Old Dominion University)

Madadh Richey (Brandeis University)

Joe Sanzo (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice; Neubauer Collegium, University of Chicago)

Panagiota Sarischouli (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Sofia Torallas Tovar (University of Chicago)

Erin Walsh (University of Chicago)

Michael Zellmann-Rohrer (Macquarie University / Freie Universität Berlin)

This conference is presented by the Textual Amulets of the Mediterranean World research project at the Neubauer Collegium with the support of the Divinity School and Classics Department at the University of Chicago.

Neubauer Collegium