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Wednesday February 8, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time 

Prof. Juliet Floyd (Boston University)

Title: Revisiting the Turing Test: Humans, Machines, and Phraseology

You can register for the webinar by clicking here!

Abstract: In this lecture I offer a re-reading of the Turing Test as a social experiment in human-to-human phraseology.  Turing’s 1936 analysis of computation is reviewed in light of its resonance with Wittgenstein’s Blue and Brown Books; certain objections to the Turing Test (including Searle’s Chinese Room) are answered; and Turing’s Test for “intelligent machinery” is construed as a human challenge to articulation in the face of emerging technology.  The significance of what Wolfram has called “computational irreducibility” and what Wittgenstein called the need for “surveyability” of algorithms is stressed and then placed beside contemporary concerns about nudging, algorithms and AI as these are applied with increasing precision and ubiquity in everyday life.  Turing’s prescient idea, that it is human beings who bear cultural responsibility for meaningful public discussion of the sorting, typing and design of algorithms, is defended as something more fundamental than what Kahnemann, Sibony and Sunstein have recently denigrated as mere “noise”.

You can register for Prof. Floyd’s webinar by clicking here!

Wednesday March 8, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time

Prof. Joel Beinin (Stanford)

Title: Egyptian Popular Culture in Late-Ottoman and Mandate Palestine

Abstract: TBA

Wednesday April 12, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time

Nergis Mavalvala (MIT)

Title: The Warped Universe: the quest to discover Einstein’s elusive gravitational waves

Abstract: The first direct detections of gravitational waves in 2015 launched a new era of gravitational wave astrophysics. I will describe the scientific and human story behind these discoveries that provide a window into some of the most violent and warped events in the Universe.

Wednesday May 10, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time



In concert with Scientists for Palestine and the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and in keeping with their joint commitment to full integration of Palestine in the global community of learning, the Bisan Lecture Series sponsors discourses on subjects of cultural, scientific, and societal importance by leading research experts and public intellectuals of varied heritage and viewpoint. The interactive webinars are free and open to the public, and recordings of each will be posted soon afterward.

Bisan Center for Research and Development

The Bisan Center is a non-governmental, nonprofit, democratic and progressive Civil Society Organization (CSO) that seeks to enhance Palestinian abilities and potentials for building an active civil and democratic community. The Bisan Center was established in 1989 and officially registered with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in 2004.

The Bisan Center aligns itself with the poor and marginalized in Palestinian society, as it works to support their struggle in advancing their socioeconomic rights and builds partnerships with other progressive institutions. Among other activities, the Bisan Center regularly produces research reports centered on various problems of development, gender, youth, and social justice. These reports are published (in Arabic) in its annual journal Al-Taqadomi, which is peer-reviewed and focused on issues of development.

Steering Committee