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Chao Prize Distinguished Lectures in Humanities: Whither Sapiens?

Distinguished Lectures in Humanities

  • Date

    10 May 2024

  • Organiser

    Faculty of Humanities

  • Time

    17:00 - 18:00

  • Venue

    Function Room 5-6, Basement 1, Hotel ICON  


The Lecture will be recorded for promotional and education purpose and it will be conducted in English.



The evolution of our species took on a unique trajectory when we adopted bipedalism over 3 mya. Technology began with making primitive stone tools and controlling fire, these interacting developments, coupled with our innately social nature, led to the gradual invention of language. With language, cultural evolution has come to supersede biological evolution. Following bipedalism and language, we are entering a new third epoch where the technology is the latest form of Artificial Intelligence. I will discuss the possible directions for this new epoch, and some of the research opportunities that have arisen.

About the speaker

Prof. William Shiyuan WANG is Chair Professor of Language and Cognitive Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley, and Academician of Academia Sinica. He founded the Journal of Chinese Linguistics, and laid the foundation of the lexical diffusion theory in evolutionary linguistics. Recently, his interests have extended to the cognitive neuroscience of language across the lifespan, especially ageing. His honours include awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, resident fellowships for advanced studies at Stanford, Bellagio (Italy), Kyoto; Lifetime Achievement Award from the Shanghai Anthropological Society, Honorary Professor of several universities, including Peking University.


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