Rolf Pfeifer

Dr. sc. techn. ETH, Scientific Advisor, “Living with Robots” Inc.


Rolf Pfeifer has a master’s degree in physics and mathematics and a Ph.D. in computer science (1979) from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. From 1987-2014 he was professor of computer science at the University of Zurich and director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He was a visiting professor and research fellow at the Free University of Brussels, the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass. (US), the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) in San Diego (US), the Beijing Open Laboratory for Cognitive Science (China), the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich (Germany), the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris (France). In 2004 he was elected “21st Century COE Professor, Information Science and Technology” at the University of Tokyo. In 2009 he was a visiting professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa (Italy), and at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and was appointed “Fellow of the School of Engineering” at the University of Tokyo and in 2016 “Fellow of ECLT”, the European Center for Living Technology in Venice (Italy). In 2009 he started the “ShanghAI Lectures” (at Shanghai Jiao Tong University), a global, fully interactive videoconference-based series on natural and artificial intelligence that now involves over 50 universities from around the planet. From 2014-2017, he was a “Specially Appointed Professor” in Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics at Osaka University. In 2017 he was appointed “Honorary Professor” at the Department of Automation, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
He is a pioneer of the fields of “embodied intelligence” and “soft robotics” which are now rapidly gaining importance and have already had a decisive impact on the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, and the neuro- and cognitive sciences. His book “How the body shapes the way we think – a new view of intelligence” (co-authored with Josh Bongard) has been published in English, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and French, and is now considered a classic. He developed the humanoid robot “Roboy”, which has attracted world-wide media attention, and he is presently pursuing the “ROBOLOUNGE” project, funded in part by Honda Motor Company, a venue where robots will take care of the well-being of the customers and where people can experience the future – i.e. they can feel what it will be like to interact very closely with robots in a public space.


Artificial Intelligence for Positive Change
Sept. 19 • 09:30 – 11:30

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