Tom Clark is developing a representationalist approach to the hard problem and mental causation: see The appearance of reality and Respecting privacy: why consciousness isn’t even epiphenomenal . He borrows from Metzinger but diverges in some important respects, especially in denying the causal role of consciousness in 3rd person explanations of behavior. Tom says he’d welcome feedback.
Roger Penrose, delivering the the second Rabindranath Tagore lecture in Kolkata was surprisingly upbeat about prospects for AI, though sticking to his view that consciousness is not computational and requires some exotic quantum physics. Alas, I can’t find a transcript.
At Google, Dmitriy Genzel is attempting machine translation of poetry. Considering that the translation of poetry is demanding or even impossible for skilful human authors, you could say this was ambitious. His paper(pdf) gives some examples of what has been achieved: there’s also a review in verse.
Finally just a mention for the claim made briefly by Masao Ito that the cerebellum (normally regarded as the part of the brain that does the automatic stuff) may have an important role in high-level cognition. That would be very interesting, but don’t people sometimes have the cerebellum entirely removed? I understood this makes life difficult for them in various ways, but doesn’t seem to affect high-level processes?