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David Danks

Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. David Danks is the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy & Psychology, and Head of the Department of Philosophy, at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also an associate/adjunct member of: the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CMU); the Center for Advanced Study of Language (Univ. of Maryland); and both the Department of History & Philosophy of Science and Center for Philosophy of Science (Univ. of Pittsburgh). His research lies at the intersection of philosophy, cognitive science, and machine learning, using ideas and frameworks from each to inform the others. A major focus of his research has been the development of a computational cognitive architecture that encompasses multiple cognitive processes and domains. This work is detailed in his book Unifying the mind: Cognitive representations as graphical models (MIT Press, 2014), and was supported by a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award. Danks has also worked to develop methods, partly inspired by human learning abilities, to learn about the causal structure of the world from complex data, and has applied those methods in a wide range of scientific domains. Most recently, he has been examining ethical, psychological, and policy issues that arise around the introduction of autonomous technologies (such as self-driving cars), with the aim of ensuring that our practices remain human-centric, rather than technology-centric. Danks received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego, and an A.B. in Philosophy from Princeton University.