Humans! Collectively rational or socially stupid?

October 8, 2013Byens Lys Copenhagen
Humas robins choice
Doors open: 19:00
Start programme: 20:00
Byens Lys
Fabriksområdet 99

How is it possible to be rational as an individual but collectively stupid? How can Facebook "likes" be dangerous? Is science fiction and robotics relevant to social skills? Is information in excess a key to clarity or confusion?

Humans are inherently social. We communicate, coordinate, collaborate, compete, love, hate, understand each other and often enough misunderstand each other. What kind of cognitive skills are needed for social behaviour? Often we are able to navigate socially in a seemingly effortless and efficient way. However, we often risk making grievous mistakes in our social reasoning with severe consequences for ourselves and society. A "bubble" is not only a term reserved for finance or real estate markets - there are opinion bubbles on the web, filter bubbles, fashion bubbles, status bubbles even science bubbles. Bubbles stem from aggregating and amplifying irrational group behavior. The talk addresses how reasoning in social contexts easily may become so complex resulting in collective catastrophe, and point to some of the common pitfalls in human social reasoning. Vincent will do the bubbles of human behavior. Thomas will make robots and other artificial intelligence systems socially intelligent.

Afterwards, chilled cocktails and RAMSES, playing compositions by Rasmus Lund Kjærgård which explore the boundary between structure and improvisation. The line up is Erik Kimestad Pedersen (trumpet), Mads Lund Egetoft (tenor sax) and Rasmus Kjærgård Lund (tuba).

Talk by

Thomas Bolander

Thomas Bolander is a Professor at the department of informatics at the Technical University of Denmark. His main research is focused on the fields of logic and artificial intelligence.

Portræt maj18 crop sorthvid low

Talk by

Vincent Hendricks

Danish philosopher and logician. He is Professor of Formal Philosophy at University of Copenhagen and a part time visiting research scholar at Columbia University. He was previously Professor of Formal Philosophy at Roskilde Univerity. He is member of the Institut International de Phiosophie.


Music by


Human fates are like planets. Edvard Munch and other inspiring artists are the catalysts of the band RAMSES. Playing compositions by Rasmus Lund Kjærgård, the music explores the borderland between improvisation and composition. They meet in space to once again disappear. The line up is Erik Kimestad Pedersen (trumpet), Mads Lund Egetoft (tenor sax) and Rasmus Kjærgård Lund (tuba).