Interview with Professor Yorick Wilks

Yorick Wilks was a British computer scientist who contributed to a wide range of academic fields, including philosophy, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, natural language processing and machine translation. 

He was Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sheffield, and Visiting Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Gresham College in London, a position created for him. 

Yorick was also a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, Senior Scientist at the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition, and a member of the Epiphany Philosophers. He was a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and of the Association for Computing Machinery, as well as a Fellow of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence, and of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. 

  • 1968 – joins the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory run by John McCarthy
  • 1974 – Yorick moves back to Europe to became a research associate at the Institute for Semantic and Cognitive Studies in Lugano in Switzerland
  • 1985 – moves back to the US to become director of a state-funded artificial intelligence laboratory and helps found new technology called information extraction
  • 1997 – while at the University of Sheffield, Yorick also leads the team that received the Loebner Prize for machine dialogue
  • 2009 – at the age of 70, Yorick moves to Florida to work at the Institute for Human Machine Cognition founded by Ken Ford and establishes a new AI group to research on metaphor, cybersecurity and belief, and emotional propagation in groups

Yorick Wilks died in April 2023 and our Trustee, Bill Dutton has co-authored an “in memory” piece on the Oxford Internet Institute website, which you can read here.

This interview was conducted for AIT by Dr Elisabetta Mori on 5 September 2019 at The Reform Club, London.


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