Murray Shanahan

Spoke Co-Lead, Imperial


Murray Shanahan is Professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College London and a Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind. He works on artificial intelligence, neurodynamics, and the philosophy of mind. Educated at Imperial College and Cambridge University (King’s College), he became a full professor at Imperial in 2006, and joined DeepMind in 2017. He was scientific advisor to the film Ex Machina, and regularly appears in the media to comment on artificial intelligence and robotics. As well as many scientific papers he has published several books, including “Embodiment and the Inner Life” (Oxford University Press, 2010) and “The Technological Singularity” (MIT Press, 2015).

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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 […]

Conscious exotica

Conscious exotica, Aeon (2016) From algorithms to aliens, could humans ever understand minds that are radically unlike our own? Download Popular Journal article

The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Views from History

The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Views from History (29 November 2018) Video recording of panel discussion before a public audience at the Babbage Lecture Theatre, University of Cambridge. Panel Members: Sarah Dillon (Chair)Simon Schaffer (University of Cambridge)Murray Shanahan (DeepMind, Imperial)Margaret A. Boden  (University of Sussex)Nathan Ensmenger (Indiana University) Pamela McCorduck (author of Machines Who Think, […]

What is the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence?

What is the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence? Filmed at the first conference of LCFI which took place in July 2017 at Jesus College, Cambridge. Interviewees include: Murray Shanahan, Christina Demetriades (Accenture), Stuart Russell, Rob McCargow (PWC), Francesca Rossi, Alan Winfield, Claire Craig (Royal Society), Zoubin Ghahramani, Jullian Huppert, Jake Elwes (Digital Artist). […]

What is artificial intelligence? Professor Murray Shanahan

A short interview with Murray Shanahan filmed at the CFI conference in July 2017. Download Film


Murray Shanahan

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 […]

Murray Shanahan

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 […]

Murray Shanahan


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 […]