Tom Burns

PhD student interested in neuroscience, AI & philosophy
BSc(Hons), MBioethics, MPhil

Neuroscience. AI.

I am interested in how intelligent systems can autonomously learn and develop, as well as how artificial intelligence can approximate biological intelligence. One of my long-term academic goals is to help shed light on the nature of human consciousnesses.

In 2013, I completed a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours at Monash University, Australia. My thesis focused on how humans perceive non-linguistic sounds and how these perceptions relate to a sound's mathematical or statistical features. In 2014, I took a sea change from science to pursue my interest in philosophy and ethics, completing a Master of Bioethics. As part of this course, I produced a thesis which analysed the ethics of proposed euthanasia legislation in Australian jurisdictions.

I was awarded a World Health Organization Bioethics Fellowship in 2015, which led to me spending three months at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. There I contributed towards bioethical analysis of the Ebola epidemic response in West Africa.

In late 2015, I began a Master of Philosophy by Research at Monash University, Australia. My thesis focused on electrophysiological signals from neocortex in response to stimuli and trauma, specifically in rat barrel cortex.

In 2018, I became a PhD student at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University, Japan. My current research involves building and evaluating simulated neural networks and artificial intelligence systems.