Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters!

This summer, I’m looking forward to putting together a new module for 2014/15 on artificial intelligence. What happens when we try to model the mind? Is it even possible to model the mind? These questions, and others, are fascinating, and I can’t wait to discuss them with students.

Meantime, I’ve been discussing them with journalists at the Kent on Sunday about the new Channel 4 drama
Humans. As a psychologist, I’m slightly more interested in operational aspects of AI, i.e. how models can be implemented and what they tell us about the mind, but that won’t stop me flapping my gums about the wider issues.

I agree wholeheartedly with Dominique Chu from the University of Kent, who is quoted as saying:

There will always be so many short-comings with artificial intelligence at a human level. That is because the brain is so complex, we still don’t understand how it all works. Until that has been done, we won’t be able to program robots to that level…I have to ask if really want to go that far.

The human mind is a complex beast, and maybe it can be modelled – but should it be?

That’s the question asked by Humans. I suspect the answer, in good science fiction tradition, is “Probably not”.

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