Background and Objectives

In 2018 the University of Helsinki chose the research area Mind and Matter - Foundations of Information, Intelligence and Consciousness as one of its planned profiling areas, and in 2019 the Academy of Finland awarded 5,3 million Euros to this area, to fund new tenure track professorships and activities.

Considering the wide-ranging effects that artificial intelligence (AI) will have on societies and individuals, it is crucial to complement research on technologies with careful analysis of the societal implications of AI. In order to fully understand how interaction with technology affects humans, and to develop human-friendly AI technologies, it is important to understand the subjective, objective, and experiential nature of human intelligence and consciousness, as well as their neural underpinnings. Quantum information science is a related emerging area of research that may fundamentally change how we view the concept of information and consequently both technical (computers, AI) and human (memory, language, decision making) information processing.

Mind and Matter brings together top-level UH research teams to tackle some of the most fascinating scientific and conceptual problems related to intelligence, consciousness, and information. Mind and Matter aims at producing the highest level of research in Interdisciplinary Mind Studies and Quantum Information/Computation.

Links to UH strategy

Mind and Matter connects UH’s strategic research areas Human Mind in a Changing World and Matter and Materials in order to further consolidate the UH’s research profile via synergy across discipline boundaries. Mind and Matter addresses the grand challenge of the Digital World directly and the challenges of Globalization and Sustainability at a foundational level. It is a joint initiative of seven UH faculties (Arts, Science, Medicine, Social Sciences, Law, Educational Sciences, and Theology).

Links to other UH profiling areas

The profiling action strengthens every area previously profiled at UH, and, in particular: the Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities HELDIG, Learning in the Digital World, Global Law, and Behavioural Life Science (PROFI2); HiDATA (PROFI3); Matter and Materials (PROFI4) and FinPharma (PROFI5).