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There is rarely a middle ground when it comes to Hollywood and Science Fiction’s portrayal of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is either our best friend or terrifying cold blooded, world conquering enemy, a disparity reflected in wider societal conflict between sinister expectations and bright hopes for AI’s merits. Perhaps if scientists could demonstrate AI’s ability to interact and learn with and about is in a socioemotionally competent manner, we might feel more reassured? We might even trust it. 

Professor Björn Schuller has dreamt since childhood about machines that understand our emotions and social behaviour. After realising the huge potential that lies in the analysis of our spoken language and other bio signals with AI methods, particularly in the health sector, it became his research focus at the turn of the new millennium. Since then, he has developed algorithms, methods, and tools to diagnose early signs of everything from apnea to autism and depression to dementia, and most recently the signature cough of Covid-19.

In his inaugural Björn’s talk will chart the history of human-centred AI, focusing on artificial emotional and health intelligence and introducing the latest in deep learning AIs to reach these goals. He will also reflect on ethical implications of an AI that might know us all too well, the algorithmic responses to these challenges, and his initiatives to demonstrate the AI’s limits through annual competitions he holds. Be excited about a comprehensive, empathic, but also useful AI for all of us.


Björn Schuller, Fellow of the British Computer Society (FBCS), Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE), Fellow of the ISCA, and President-Emeritus of the AAAC, is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence of Imperial College London, where he leads the research “Group on Language, Audio, & Music” (GLAM). His expertise concerns algorithms and solutions of largely human-centred AI for Computer Audition and multimodal Computer Perception with an application focus on Affective Computing and Digital Health.

He graduated in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from TU Munich, Germany, in 1999, received his Doctoral Degree in Engineering in 2006 and habilitation in Machine Intelligence and Signal Processing in 2012 from the same university. His career at Imperial started with a post-doctoral visit in 2010, continued as a Lecturer in Machine Learning in 2013, where he was subsequently conferred the titles of Reader in Machine Learning in 2015, and of Professor of Artificial Intelligence in 2018. Further past or present Professorships held of his include the University of Passau, Germany, the University of Augsburg, Germany, and Visiting Professorships at the University of Geneva/Switzerland, HIT/China, and Southeast University/China. He is also a co-founding CEO of audEERING – a leading audio intelligence company. Professor Schuller has co-authored over 1,000 scientific contributions. He was a recipient of an ERC Starting Grant and honoured as one of 40 extraordinary scientists under the age of 40 by the WEF in 2015. He serves as Field Chief Editor of the Frontiers in Digital Health and previously as Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, and consults global enterprises such as Barclays, GN, Huawei, or Samsung.

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