Professor Simon Kirby

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Simon Kirby is Professor of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh and an elected Fellow of the British Academy, Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Cognitive Science Society.

Professor Simon Kirby

About Simon Kirby

Simon Kirby is Professor of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh and an elected Fellow of the British Academy, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Cognitive Science Society, and a member of the Academy of Europe.

He works in parallel on scientific and artistic investigations of cultural evolution and the origins of human uniqueness, particularly the evolution of language. He founded the Centre for Language Evolution, which has pioneered techniques for growing languages in the experiment lab and exploring language evolution using computer simulations. His artistic work includes Cybraphon, which won a BAFTA in 2009 and is now part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of Scotland.

Simon has always been fascinated in how the behaviour of our species as a whole somehow emerges from the individual actions of every human. He has been using computer models to understand how culture evolves. Recently he has been working with artists and musicians to create installations that explore the same question that scientists ask: why are humans the way they are? He tries to divide his time equally between science and art with the aim that eventually he will not know the difference.

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