Affect and Artificial Intelligence

Elizabeth Wilson – Women Studies Emory University

Monday, March 7, 2011 4:00 pm Communications 120

“Affect and Artificial Intelligence”

In 1950, Alan Turing, the British mathematician, cryptographer, and computer pioneer, looked to the future: now that the conceptual and technical parameters for electronic brains had been established, what kind of intelligence could be built? Should machine intelligence mimic the abstract thinking of a chess player or should it be more like the developing mind of a child? Should an intelligent agent only think, or should it also learn, feel, and grow?

Affect and Artificial Intelligence is the first in-depth analysis of affectn and intersubjectivity in the computational sciences. Elizabeth Wilson makes use of archival and unpublished material from the early years of AI (1945-70) until the present to show that early researchers were more engaged with questions of emotion than many commentators have assumed. She documents how affectivity was managed in the canonical works of Walter Pitts in the 1940s and Turing in the 1950s, in projects from the 1960s that injected artificial agents into psychotherapeutic encounters, in chess- playing
machines from the 1940s to the present, and in the Kismet (sociable robotics) project at MIT in the 1990s.

Elizabeth Wilson is is a professor in the Department of Women�s Studies at Emory University. She is the author of Neural Geographies: Feminism and the Microstructure of Cognition (1998), Psychosomatic: Feminism and the
Neurological Body (2004), and most recently, Affect and Artificial Intelligence (2010). Her work has been widely praised for its lucid and innovative rethinking of both feminism and science.

Sponsored by the Graduate School’s Walker Ames Visiting Scholars program, the University of Washington Press, the Comparative History of Ideas Program, Women Studies and the Simpson Center, and the Science Studies
Network.

Phillip Thurtle
Director, Comparative History of Ideas
Associate Professor, History
Adjunct Associate Professor, Anthropology
University of Washington

Adjunct Professor of Sociology
Carleton University

Co-editor of the book series In Vivo: The Cultural Mediations of Biomedicine
available from University of Washington Press

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