2021 Public Lecture – Roland Fleming

The 2020 Public Lecture will be carried forward to the 2021 meeting.

Roland FlemingRoland Fleming,  PhD

Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

Roland Fleming is an interdisciplinary researcher who investigates how the brain allows us to see the physical properties of objects. He studied at Oxford and MIT and has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. He is currently the Kurt Koffka Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Giessen in Germany. He has won a number of prizes, including the Elsevier-Vision Sciences Society Young Investigator Award in 2013.

Big Data and the Brain: How we Learn to See ‘Stuff’ from Lots and Lots of Examples

How does the brain learn to see? When we are newborn, we can hardly recognize anything by sight, yet by the time we are adults we have exquisite visual and motor skills. Without touching objects we can make an incredible range of visual judgments about their properties. We can see an object’s 3D shape, work out whether it is soft or hard, fragile or durable, and anticipate how it is likely to respond if we try to squeeze it. Somehow, by looking at and interacting with lots of ’Stuff’, we learn how to recognize it. In this talk, vision scientist Roland Fleming will discuss some of the challenges that objects and materials pose to the visual system, and describe some of the amazing progress researchers have recently made in using deep learning to build artificial visual systems that can see like humans.

About the VSS Public Lecture

The annual public lecture represents the mission and commitment of the Vision Sciences Society to promote progress in understanding vision and its relation to cognition, action and the brain. Education is basic to our science, and as scientists we are obliged to communicate the results of our work, not only to our professional colleagues, but also to the broader public. This lecture is part of our effort to give back to the community that supports us.