Professor Yorick Wilks
Former Research Associate
Yorick Wilks is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sheffield. He received his MA and PhD (1968) from Pembroke College, Cambridge. He has also taught or researched at Stanford, Edinburgh, Geneva, Essex and New Mexico State Universities. His interests are artificial intelligence and the computer processing of language, knowledge and belief, especially as applied to the future of the Internet: the Semantic Web and the possibility of Companion-like interfaces.
His recent books include: Natural language Processing and the Semantic Web (with Christopher Brewster, Now Books, 2009), Machine Translation – how far can it go (Springer, 2009), Artificial Believers (Erlbaum 1991), Electric Words (MIT, 1996) and Machine Conversations (Kluwer, 2001), and a new edited volume in 2009 from John Benjamins is: ‘Artificial Companions in Society: scientific, economic, psychological and philosophical perspectives’. He is a Research Fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies.
See the initial Companions demonstrators.
artificial companions, Semantic Web, artificial intelligence, computer processing of language, knowledge and belief
Positions held at the OII
- Research Associate, November 2010 – November 2019
- Senior Research Fellow, January 2007 – October 2010
- Visiting Professor, October 2006 – January 2007
- Research Associate, March – October 2006
- Visitor, October 2005 – February 2006
- Visiting Fellow, September 2003 – February 2004
Participants: Professor Rebecca Eynon, Professor Yorick Wilks, Dr Chris Davies
The Learning Companion project aims to evaluate the feasibility of a computer-based digital tool to help adults whose engagement with learning is tentative or hard to sustain make productive use of the Internet for achieving their own learning projects.
Participants: Professor Yorick Wilks
This project developed a virtual conversational 'Companion': an agent that stays with the user for long periods of time, develops a relationship and 'knows' its owner's preferences and wishes, communicating primarily by using and understanding speech.
Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Professor Yorick Wilks, Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Wendy Hall
Establishing networks of researchers from different technical and social science research disciplines to begin to develop a Web Science research agenda through the exchange of PhD students and collaborative workshops.
Recorded: 29 November 2010
Yorick Wilks discusses the main themes of his lecture in the OII's "Society and the Internet" lecture series: how do we identify, articulate and deliberate about the ethical issues present in the Internet?
Recorded: 12 July 2010
Yorick Wilks explores the state of the art in modelling realistic conversation with computers over the last 40 years, and asks what we would want in a conversational agent (or 'Companion') designed for a long-term relationship with a user.
Recorded: 18 June 2009
Martin Kay produced three of the key advances in language and computation over a long 50 years career: he discusses these in an interview, along with anecdotes that give a historical content for that seminal work.
Recorded: 16 November 2006
The Companion is a persistent conversational agent that appears to learn a person's tastes and habits, and carries out activities within their digital space on the Internet, such as organising image and text records as a coherent life narrative.
15 February 2007
Professor Yorick Wilks joins the OII as a Senior Research Fellow. His research interests include artificial intelligence and the computer processing of language, knowledge and belief.
6 May 2020
The OII welcomes back Yorick Wilks, for his talk exploring the relationship between religion and artificial intelligence.
30 May 2017
The Oxford Internet Institute is excited to welcome Yorick Wilks for his talk 'Will There Be Superintelligence And Would It Hate Us?'
19 June 2014
Dr. David Bray will discuss the opportunities and challenges with inspiring a “startup mentality” in legacy information technology organizations.
15 May 2013
Summary to follow.
28 February 2012
Drawing examples from science and government, this talk will demonstrate the advantages and dangers of a more 'intelligent' Semantic Web.
29 November 2010
The influence of the Internet's instant communication, information and gratification is everywhere, but its ethical implications have not yet been drawn out. How do we identify, articulate and deliberate about the ethical issues present in the Internet?
12 July 2010
Yorick Wilks, winner of the Lovelace medal 2010, discusses Companion-like interfaces. What should a Companion know? How can it gain and use the knowledge? What are the social implications? What will happen to their unique knowledge of us when we die?
7 July 2010
Yorick Wilks, winner of the Lovelace medal, will give the 2010 Lovelace Lecture on the future of the Internet: the Semantic Web and the possibility of Companion-like interfaces.
30 April 2010
This seminar aims to contribute to the scope and agenda of Internet Ethics at a time when it is emerging as a research subject. We aim to identify, articulate and deliberate about the ethical issues present in the technology and for its users.
28 May 2009
A workshop that brings togather social scientists and computer scientists to discuss the possibilities for companions and pedagogical agents to enhance learning and education, both now and in the future.
24 June 2008
A workshop discussing the past, present and future of searching for information and content. Social science and technological approaches are used to look at this topic from the perspective of both the producers and the users of searchable content.
15 March 2006
Summary to come.
10 June 2005
This workshop discusses issues facing approaches to archiving digital content over the coming decade, while focusing on a proposal for an institutional digital repository for research reports.
30 January 2004
This seminar addresses the perception of a supposed divide between social scientific and computer science approaches to study of the Internet. It asks what each has to offer, and to what extent a more collaborative vision is appropriate and possible.