The future of cybersecurity, data and Artificial Intelligence – as well as whether Donald Trump’s tweets reveal anything about the US President’s sanity – are set to be among the ‘digital frontiers’ explored in this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival.
World-class scientists, academics and authors will gather in the capital for the 31st annual event – which runs across 31 venues between 6 and 21 April – and which is set to take its inspiration from the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing.
Pushing the limits of our knowledge about ourselves, the world around us and the Universe beyond will be at the core of the Frontiers theme, which will run throughout the scientific programme of 270 family and adult events.
The Future of Cyber Security, Data and AI, hosted by leading technologist, Sharon Moore and cyber expert Prof Bill Buchanan, from Edinburgh Napier University, will discuss the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence and explore the risks we face and the new opportunities that this ‘information age’ will bring.
A panel including leading clinical psychologist Prof Daniel Freeman, robotics expert Prof Ruth Aylett and co-developer of the NHS Digital approved Feeling Good: positive mindset app, Dr Sheila Ross, will explore of the beneficial effects of technology and how it could be used to help improve our mental health in the Digital Therapist.
And On The Frontiers of Sanity looks at whether we can judge a person’s sanity based on their Twitter feed, using Donald Trump as a test case. An audience experiment conducted by psychologist Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus and psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud will test how the public make decisions about a politician’s mental health by using the US President’s Twitter feed.
Online predators will also be the focus of Accept/Decline: Keeping Children Safe Online, which features an expert panel discussing the dangers the online world poses and revealing some of the regular phrases used by online predators, demonstrating new software being developed to identify them.
Amanda Tyndall, Edinburgh Science Festival’s Creative Director said: “With new venues and partners and a programme packed full of events and ideas our Frontiers theme sees us explore the research horizons of everything from the depths of the oceans to the furthest reaches of space and the intricate pathways of the human brain. We celebrate the spirit of adventure and enquiry that drives science and the ideas and individuals that are expanding the Frontiers of our collective knowledge and have aplenty of fun on our journey.
“At the heart of all science lies an unquenchable curiosity; a deep urge to explore and explain the unknown and to push the Frontiers of our knowledge about ourselves, the world around us and our place in the wider Universe.”
Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Donald Wilson, said: “The Edinburgh Science Festival transforms the city into a celebration of science and technology every year and its 31st edition will be no exception. There is something for everyone in the extensive programme from fascinating talks with Professors and pioneers, to experiments and events to entertain and educate all ages taking place across the city.”