More specifically, I am interested in machines that have more autonomy - machines that learn their own behaviour from interaction with the world, rather than their behaviour being merely an expression of the intelligence of the programmer. Machines that construct their own representations, and evolve their own internal language, rather than using representations dictated by the programmer. So I am interested in all types of self-modifying, learning, evolving or self-organising models of control or models of mind.
A list of topics within AI that interest me (basically, the biologically-inspired approaches) can be seen on my AI Links page. And my background and motivation ("Is AI possible?", "Is AI science?", and so forth) can be seen on my Philosophy and Future of AI page.
My specific research is divided into the following sections. Publications for all are on my Publications page.
"Where de la Mettrie's contemporaries" [in 1745]
"found it difficult to understand how humans could possibly be machines,
some of us nowadays find it hard to understand how we could not be."
- Jack Copeland, Artificial Intelligence: A Philosophical Introduction.
"Looking on the bright side, let us remind ourselves of what has happened in the wake of earlier demystifications. We find no diminution of wonder; on the contrary, we find deeper beauties and more dazzling visions of the complexity of the universe than the protectors of mystery ever conceived. The "magic" of earlier visions was, for the most part, a cover-up for frank failures of imagination, a boring dodge enshrined in the concept of a deus ex machina. Fiery gods driving golden chariots across the skies are simpleminded comic-book fare compared with the ravishing strangeness of contemporary cosmology, and the recursive intricacies of the reproductive machinery of DNA make élan vital about as interesting as Superman's dread kryptonite. When we understand consciousness - when there is no more mystery - consciousness will be different, but there will still be beauty, and more room than ever for awe."
- Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained. I quote Dennett at the end of my PhD.
" .. And the hardest problem of all will still remain. The human race is free to love the buggers because they think the buggers all are dead. You are still alive, and so they're still afraid of you." Human stood among them and gestured toward his body, as if it were a weak and feeble thing. "Of us!" "They're afraid of the same thing you fear, when you look up and see the stars fill up with humans. They're afraid that someday they'll come to a world and find that you have got there first." "We don't want to be there first", said Human. "We want to be there too".
- From the science fiction novel, Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card. In the story, "buggers" are intelligent aliens that humans have recently exterminated. "Human" is a member of a new species of intelligent alien. I don't know why I like the optimism at the end of this. I just do.