Skip to main content


Born Before AI: A Lecture Series    

Wednesdays, April 17 - May 1, 2024


George and Ellen Rieveschl Digitorium
Griffin Hall, Northern Kentucky University


Artificial Intelligence has a long history, but suddenly it has entered an era of explosive growth. This lecture series is designed for retirees and others who are seeking a lively and informative glimpse into how we got here, how AI is already impacting our everyday lives, and the promise and dangers that lie ahead.

The title of this series is a nod to 1956, the year when the term "artificial intelligence" was born, at a conference at Dartmouth College.

This series is part of AI Generations, a suite of programs in the NKU College of Informatics bringing AI knowledge and experience to multiple generations of learners.


This lecture series is supported through the generosity of Ellen Rieveschl.

RSVP Required

Click here to Register


AI-generated image of a small eastern liberal arts college from 1956.

Lecture 1

AI: Its Past, Present, and Future

Wednesday April 17

Presented by Kevin Kirby, PhD, Dean, College of Informatics

A photo of Dr. Kevin Kirby
Kevin Kirby. In addition to being the dean of the NKU College of Informatics, Kevin is the Evan and Lindsay Stein Professor of Biocomputing. His primary research area has been in artificial neural networks, and he won the Mathematical Association of America’s George Polya award for a paper connecting that topic to the classical art of memory and the mathematics of quantum mechanics. He has given lectures on AI at a variety of places over the years, including Seoul National University (1991), the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (2006), and the Cincinnati Woman’s Club (2017).

Lecture 2

The Reach of AI: Journalism, Ethics

Wednesday April 24

Presented by Michele Day, MA, Faculty, Journalism and Robert Brice, PhD, Faculty, Philosophy

A photo of Michele Day
Michele Day. Michele is a Professor of Practice at NKU’s School of Media and Communication, with a BA in Journalism and an MA in Communication. Before coming to academia, she spent almost 20 years in newsrooms, including 17 as a reporter and editor for the Cincinnati Post and its sister publication in Kentucky.  She has served on the national board for the Society of Professional Journalist and has chaired the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association.
A photo of Dr. Robert Price
Robert Brice. Robert has a PhD in Philosophy from Michigan State University and is Lecturer in Philosophy in the NKU College of Arts and Sciences. His most recent book is Wittgenstein’s On Certainty: Insight & Method (Springer, 2022), which explores parallels between the thought of Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He serves as the coach of NKU’s Ethic Bowl team, which triumphed at the regional competition and made the nationals for the first time in 2024. Robert is currently teaching NKU’s AI and Philosophy of Mind course.

Lecture 3

The Reach of AI: Cybersecurity, Healthcare

Wednesday May 1

Presented by Cynthia Thomas, PhD, Faculty, Cybersecurity and Valerie Hardcastle, PhD, Vice President for Health Innovation

A photo of Dr. Cynthia Thomas
Cynthia Thomas. After serving as a lecturer in Cybersecurity at NKU for many years, Cynthia has now completed her PhD at the University of Louisville and will begin as an Assistant Professor in the NKU School of Computing and Analytics in Fall 2024. She has Master of Science in Digital Forensics from the University of Central Florida. She has two undergraduate degrees, one in Information Technology and one in Animal Sciences. She is also a practitioner of mixed martial arts, Muay Thai in particular.
A photo of Dr. Valerie Hardcastle
Valerie Hardcastle. Valerie is the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Executive Director of the NKU Institute for Health Innovation and Vice President for Health Innovation. Before coming to NKU in 2018, she served at the University of Cincinnati as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and then as the Academic Director of the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry.   Before that she was Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. An internationally recognized scholar, Dr. Hardcastle is the author of five books and over 210 articles. She received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in cognitive science and philosophy from the University of California, San Diego.

Note: The black-and-white photo at the top left of this page is not real. It was generated by Google Gemini, a free AI tool, with the prompt: "Please produce an image: a b&w photograph of a small liberal arts campus resembling Dartmouth in the 1950s."  (The color photo at the top right is real: Griffin Hall, the home of the NKU College of Informatics, where these lectures will be held.)