Campus and Community

International students fascinated by Técnico – Alameda campus

About 600 students from around the world participated in the European Innovation Academy (EIA) and visited Técnico laboratories.

“I love the whole campus”, says Michelle, student of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of Calgary, in Canada. “I had never been in a laser laboratory and it’s amazing. The researchers explained us everything in a clear way”, adds Gabriela Martinez, 22 year old, student of International Business at the University of Florida, in the USA. Radwon Yuusuf, student of Business Management at MacEwan University, in Canada, was fascinated after visiting the L21 lab.

The students had the opportunity to learn more about the ISTTOK tokamak and X-Golp.

How Artificial Intelligence will transform our economic future

During the visit, the students had the opportunity to attend a lecture by the president of Técnico, professor Arlindo Oliveira, entitled “Artificial Intelligence – Applications, Implications and Speculations”. The professor referred that speculations make people fall in what is referred to as Amara’s Law – “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”.

According to Alan Turing “if a machine is indistinguishable from a human, it is thinking”. We can say that “AI is a technique which enables machines to mimic human behaviour“. There are two approaches to this issue: the synthetic approach and the approach that defends that we can reach AI using simulations of biological systems. In the first one we use machine learning and there is the theory that “if we find the right algorithm that mimic the human brain we can reach the level of human intelligence through a computer”. However, it is still a distant goal, “but we are heading in that direction”, said professor Arlindo Oliveira.

“AI can transform our economic future, but it poses challenges to the legal systems and to the human society”, said the president of Técnico.

At the end, a student asked whether machines are conscious or not. “We can imagine a system that has the same intelligence as a human being, but has no subjective experiences”, answered professor Arlindo Oliveira. However, according to the professor “as we create more and more complex systems, they will start developing what we may perceive, externally, as consciousness”.

“This programme is great because it helps students to start their own business, and it’s an opportunity to meet mentors and professionals”, says Gabriela Martinez. “I think EIA is amazing because it allows that our dreams and goals come true”, says Michelle.