Tuesday 16 March 2010

Lecture Eight: Cognition

As far back as 1950 the mathematician Alan Turing predicted that ‘at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have to be altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted’. Today technicians at MIT are teaching a robot dog how to read a child’s picture book. Movement and image recognition both suggest new ways of looking at how machine intelligence – and by implication human intelligence – operates. But what actually happens to machines when they start to think for themselves? What will constitute an identity for them? What will their gender be? How we will interact creatively with them? More importantly, what will they have to teach us about our own creative thinking?

Context themes covered: politics, language, psychology, ethics

See also:
I Am Astro-Boy
Confessions of a Crap Artist

Suggested reading and related websites:
‘L’Eve future’, Auguste Villiers de L’Isle-Adam (sorry – French text only)
‘The Sandman’, ETA Hoffman (English translation PDF)
Zeros and Ones: Women, Cyberspace + the New Sexual Revolution, Sadie Plant, Fourth Estate, 1997
War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, Manuel de Landa, MIT, 1991

Prepare for the singularity and the coming of the third culture by visiting John Brockman’s Edge site.

Or alternatively:
To talk with Eliza, click here.
To talk with ALICE, click here.
Or to talk with Captain Kirk (no really), click here.

YouTube clips embedded above: the new Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots (some self-assembly required); Carl Rogers and Gloria Counselling Part One: Eliza, an early conversational programme for computers was modelled on Carl Rogers’ ‘Person Centred’ approach to counselling. Click here to follow the entire series of encounters online.

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