York prof delivers interactive lecture to students in India via Skype

York Professor Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Chair of the Department of Philosophy who specializes in the philosophy of cognitive science, captured the attention of students from Rishikul Vidyapeeth, a school near New Delhi, India, with his live lecture delivered from Toronto via Skype on May 3.

Professor Muhammad Ali Khalidi
Professor Muhammad Ali Khalidi

The lecture, titled “The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence”, offered a glimpse into Khalidi’s popular course “Minds, Brains, and Machines” and explored the concept of intelligence and related issues through inquiries such as: What does it take to make a machine intelligent? Could machines become more intelligent than humans, and if so, what are the ethical implications?.

“It’s the kind of topic that first got me interested in cognitive science, and it’s inherently fascinating to many people, particularly high school and university students,” said Khalidi. “After I spoke for around 25 minutes, the students asked questions and discussed the issues for 45 minutes. They asked very searching questions and had a unique perspective.”

Following the lecture, Archana Sharma, head of International Programs at Rishikul Vidyapeeth, contacted Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LAPS) Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed to express how much the students enjoyed the lecture.

“The feedback from students was really positive,” Sharma wrote. “The teachers found the session to be extremely thought provoking and they expressed a strong desire to have many more such sessions on exciting topics such as artificial intelligence.”

The school’s director Dheeraj Sharma said that online lectures delivered globally would be a big part of future education. The director, principal and teachers all expressed appreciation for York’s contribution to an innovative pedagogical approach.

“The initiative displays the potential for knowledge that can defy all boundarie – geographic and disciplinary,” said Mukherjee-Reed.

The interactive lecture was just one outcome of the dean’s trip to India during Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s January 2016 trade mission to India. Mukherjee-Reed visited the school and was given a warm reception, including an opportunity to speak to a large group of students about York.

Rishikul Vidyapeeth is very committed to giving its students an international education. It has regular student exchanges internationally and is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a member of its Associated Schools Network for being “engaged in a program of international cooperation and quality education for all”.