Marta Halina

Senior Research Fellow


Marta Halina is a University Lecturer in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science. She received her PhD in Philosophy and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, in 2013 and was a McDonnell Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program at Washington University in St. Louis before coming to Cambridge in 2014. Her current research focuses on issues related to nonhuman animal mindreading, ape gestural communication, and mechanistic explanation in biology.

Marta is a fellow of Selwyn College where she is Director of Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) and the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS).

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The Animal-AI Testbed and Competition

The Animal-AI Testbed and Competition, Proceedings of Machine Learning Research 123:164–176, 2020 NeurIPS 2019 Competition and Demonstration Track.  Editors: Hugo Jair Escalante and Raia Hadsell Abstract: Modern machine learning systems are still lacking in the kind of general intelligence and common sense reasoning found, not only in humans, but across the animal kingdom. Many animals are capable […]

The Leverhulme CFI Podcast – Nicky Clayton

Marta Halina in conversation with Nicky Clayton (Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge).   Download Podcast  

What Apes Know About Seeing in Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds (2017) eds. K Andrews & J Beck

What Apes Know About Seeing in Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds (2017) eds. K Andrews & J Beck.

Minds in the deep: Octopuses as conscious exotica

Minds in the deep: Octopuses as conscious exotica With their morphing bodies, colour-changing skin, many suckered arms, and their curious, intelligent behaviour, octopuses are among the strangest and most fascinating of sea-dwellers. A paper published this year caused a recent media frenzy when it announced, among other things, that octopuses might be extraterrestrial in origin. […]

Five Ways AI Is Not Like The Manhattan Project (And One Way It Is)

Five Ways AI Is Not Like The Manhattan Project (And One Way It Is):  3 Quarks Daily, 05 August 2019. Marta Halina and Joseph D. Martin Download Popular Journal article


Marta Halina

Consciousness and Intelligence

Investigating the nature and function of consciousness in humans, animals, and AI. The nature and function of consciousness is one of the most important outstanding problems of human science, and connects closely with ethical issues such as our treatment of animals, the welfare of patients in persistent vegetative states, and even the moral status of […]

Marta Halina

Creative Intelligence

Can machines be creative? Examining the capacity for creative thought. Creativity is often considered a distinctive feature of human or human-like intelligence. Scientists and artists struggle to explain their creativity, often resorting to all-too-easy creation myths (eg Newton’s apple), appealing to the divine, or citing the immense complexity and idiosyncrasy of the human mind. This […]

Marta Halina

Augmented Intelligence

Exploring how human intelligence, consciousness, and cognition are augmented by the digital technologies we use. What effect is technology having on our intelligence? Socrates argued that it would have a diminishing effect, but recently much philosophical attention has focused on the ways in which technology enhances and extends human cognitive capacities. Even simple technologies, such […]

Marta Halina


Investigating the possibilities for bi-directional knowledge transfer between biological and artificial intelligence. AI has made rapid progress in recent years, overtaking human performance on complex tasks. However, there remain many areas where AI cannot compete with even simple biological organisms. Such areas include understanding object permanence and intuitive physics, one-shot learning, intelligent exploration and generalising […]

Marta Halina

The Atlas of Intelligences

We want to make cross-disciplinary research on the diversity of intelligences easier to navigate, by collecting and synthesising it in a single, accessible resource – an Atlas of Intelligences. Intelligence is found in a wide range of organisms and systems. We see it in everything from humans to hagfish, bacteria to bee colonies, and magpies […]