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Does it matter that intelligence has a history?

Strand Campus, London

We tend to think of intelligence as timeless, but in fact it’s a strikingly modern invention. Since the time of Plato, if not before, humans have been thinking about what it means to think, about whether some people are better at it than others, and about what that should mean for the way society is organised. But until around the 19th century, intelligence wasn’t understood in the anything like the same way it is today. This event will explore some of the ways we’ve come to understand intelligence and its significance, particularly since the start of the 20th century. And it will ask how understanding this history can help us to think about AI and its place in our world today.


Dr David Brydan is an historian at King’s College London, specialising in the history of the 20th century. He is currently writing a book on the modern history of intelligence.

This event is in-person only. Please register on Eventbrite. Registration will close at 9am on Tuesday 21 May.

This event is part of the King's Festival of Artificial Intelligence, running from Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 May 2024.

If you’re interested in this event, you may also want to join us for:

Festival event times may be subject to change. Any changes will be communicated to registrants via Eventbrite emails.

Please note, King's events are free, which means we routinely overbook to allow for no-shows and avoid empty seats. Admission is on a first come, first served basis, so please arrive in good time to avoid disappointment. We will not be able to admit those without tickets or latecomers.

At this event

David Brydan

Senior Lecturer in the History of Modern International Relations

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