Whether “intelligence” can be created within hardware is a fascinating question, and one that remains unanswered despite significant efforts. In contrast, biological intelligence from a neural source offers a “ground truth” of opportunity. As such, the question becomes not ‘if’ general intelligence can arise from something artificial, but ‘how’.
Among epileptic patients, 70% are effectively treated with drugs and live a generally normal life, but the other 30% are resistant to these drugs. Some can get around this by having invasive surgical procedures. Yet despite progress of the last 30 years to improve epilepsy treatment, the percentage of patients who cannot be treated remains at 30%. One of the most debilitating aspects of epilepsy is the uncertainty of when a seizure will occur – even if they are as infrequent as two a year. If you don’t know when the seizures will come, you cannot know when you are safe. Professor David Grayden wants to predict the onset of seizures, which could change the lives of over 15 million people.
On the 13th of December 2019, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, presented the Royal Society of Victoria’s Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research to Professors Anthony Burkitt and Jamie Rossjohn (en route to induct the new Victorian Premier and Cabinet!). Professor Burkitt leads a consortium of Australian universities and institutes to develop a bionic eye and technology, Bionic Vision Australia, and Professor Rossjohn is a leader in the field of immunology, in his quest to better understand how the immune system works and can be manipulated to address disease. The RSV Research Medal awarded to two leaders in their fields recognises both their research career achievements as well as their impact in the scientific community through mentorship and public engagement.
RSV President David Zerman emphasises the Medal is not just about discovery and innovation, but also about fostering and supporting a thriving research community and workforce to achieve collective impact. “Some of this is demonstrated through a scholar’s personal output of journal articles and the related citations, or through patents and commercialisation, but it is also the research ecosystem that a leader supports through mentorship, collaboration and public engagement. We look very favourably on research leaders who bring effective teams together, and who actively promote younger scientists in particular, either through direct supervision, co-authorship of major papers, or simply creating opportunities for meaningful, purposeful work in an intensely competitive job market.”