SHDP  is a public understanding of science and technology programme based at Jesus College, University of Cambridge.  Through conferences, publishing, and films, SHDP brings together the scientific research community  with experts from industry, government, the arts and the media to broaden the appreciation of new ideas and discoveries in science and technology and broader STEMM, and to ask searching questions about the ethical dilemmas they pose for humanity.

NEWS  –  AI – ETHICAL & RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES – SHDP REPORT  – based on talks and discussions at SHDP’s third conference in its AI and the Future of Humanity series, the  report is now published.

NEWS  –  SHDP DIRECTOR JOHN CORNWELL’S AEON ARTICLE  Alpha Golem – “When we pit ourselves against machines, the game can only end in tears. It is in our gift to imagine another way.”



NEWS  –  HUMANS THROUGH THE AI LOOKING GLASS   In this short film, an AI expert, a philosopher, psychologist, theologian, and neuroscientist discuss how AI works so well as a mirror for humans.


NEWS  –  THE PATH TO ARTIFICIAL CONSCIOUSNESS?   An AI expert, philosopher, ethicist, theologian, and neuroscientist discuss consciousness and its importance in artificial intelligence. All participated in SHDP conference the Singularity Summit at Jesus College Cambridge in 2018.


NEWS  –  WHAT IS THE SINGULARITY?  watch our short film where AI experts Murray Shanahan of DeepMind and Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford, give their answers to the question: What is the Singularity?


NEWS  –  ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN SCIENCE FICTION  watch our short film on AI in Sci-Fi, the subject of our March 2018 conference. AI experts and Sci Fi authors and film makers discuss how Sci-Fi addresses AI, and the roles both the AI and Sci-Fi communities can play to communicate and discuss the hopes and fears of Artificial Intelligence.


SHDP addresses important ethical questions, such as the controversy over human embryonic stem cell research, super intelligent machines and artificial intelligence (AI). At times we tackle subjects illustrative of knowledge purely for its own sake.

SHDP helps researchers and companies bring their work to a wide audience of experts and general public through well organised events with carefully chosen participants. We have worked with many research groups and businesses, for example organising a conference in 2017 with DeepMind  on AI, memory and imagination.

SHDP and outreach – we have a strong track record in achieving outreach from Cambridge University and research beyond to the media and a wider non-specialist public through journalism, film and books.  The project directors have produced conferences and reports on a wide range of vital issues including:

Consciousness and Human Identity; Artificial Intelligence; Cyber Security; Food Security; Inequality; Infrastructure; The Financial Crisis; Big Data; Blockchain and Bitcoin; The Future of Research-based Universities; The North-South divide; Ageing in the UK; The Future of Work.

Conference proceedings and books have been published by SHDP, Oxford University PressBloomsbury, Viking Penguin and Profile.

AI & the Future of Humanity Project – from August 2017 SHDP ran a two-year project consisting of three conferences on AI and the Future of Humanity. The project was funded by Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF). The first conference took place on 15-16 March 2018 and discussed our hopes and fears for AI as featured in Science Fiction – read the AI in Sci Fi conference report.  The second conference, The Singularity Summit, was in September 2018 – read the Singularity Summit conference report, and third on AI, ethical and religious perspectives in May 2019 – all details here.

AI, Art and Creativity  –  SHDP has experience curating and producing art exhibitions. We are interested in communicating important scientific and technological ideas through the arts. We have advised cultural institutions on AI versus human creativity and are also working with a foundation to develop a new arts, craft and technology residency in the Middle East (Qatar).

SHDP AI in Sci Fi conference
Olle Haggstrom on existential risk at the AI in Sci-Fi conference March 2018 at Jesus College, Cambridge

Science Human Dimension Project SHDP logo