Media Release: Expert to give free talk on artificial intelligence


CAN computers think for themselves? This will be the subject of the next Café Scientifique event at Waterstones in Inverness. Dr Ian Barnes, programme leader for computing at the University of Highlands and Islands, will discuss the concept of artificial intelligence, asking if it is truly possible or even desirable.

“Intelligence is hard to define in itself and, in order to determine if we have achieved artificial intelligence, we need to understand what intelligence is. I will also challenge the audience to think about why it is we want to replicate what humans do in an artificial way; what benefits may that have,” Dr Barnes explained.

Dr Barnes studied maths at the Australian National University in Canberra and taught mathematics and computer science for 20 years in Australia before joining the University of the Highlands and Islands four years ago. His free discussion takes place from 7pm on Tuesday 19 August.

The event is part of the Café Scientifique Inverness series, a collaboration between the University of Aberdeen, the University of the Highlands and Islands and Centre for Rural Health, supported by the Scottish Government.

The series enables academics to give insights into their research to help engage the public with topics across the scientific spectrum. Subjects in the current series, which runs until October, include ‘the importance of Scottish fossils’ and ‘why happy children live longer’.

Dr Heather Doran from the University of Aberdeen’s public engagement with research unit said: “The Café series allows the public to gain insight and understanding from researchers in a way that is informal and engaging.

“The topics covered showcase the vast range of compelling and often cutting-edge scientific findings being developed by experts from academic institutions in Scotland.”

For more information on the Café Scientifique Inverness series, visit


MEDIA RELEASE issued by the University of the Highlands and Islands. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka Press or media releases), on Email for more information.

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Contact: Alison Lochhead
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