Date: October 02, 2023 02:54PM
There is both academic tension and ambiguity in the terms "computer science" "artificial intelligence" and "cognitive science." This can be seen from a quote by Douglas Hofstadter in the Preface to his book, *Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies* (1995)
He states: [With my own comments in brackets]
"It all began in 1977, when I became an assistant professor of computer science at Indiana University and officially started doing research in artificial intelligence."
[This represents the traditional association of AI with computer science, even though previously, as you note, AI was a sort of renegade discipline outside even computer science.]
"A word on the term "artificial intelligence" . . . In the 1970s, I enthusiastically embraced this provocative phrase (or its acronym, "AI") as a good way of describing my field of research and my own goals. For me and probably for a good many people, the term conjured up an exciting image -- that of questing after the deepest secrets of the human mind and expressing them as pure, abstract patterns."
[This was the traditional orientation of AI, as equating human 'thinking' and problem solving with computation.]
"In the early 1980s, however, that term, as words are wont to do, gradually started changing connotations, and began to exude the flavor of commercial applications and expert systems, as opposed to basic scientific research about the nature of thinking and being conscious. Then, even worse, it slid down the slope that ends up in meaningless buzzwords and empty hype."
[What DH doesn't say is that this shift in AI away from modeling human thinking and cognition to data driven computation of "expert systems," was in large part a development from the failure of AI (particularly the difficulties in modeling common sense as associated with the so-called frame problem.]
"As a result I came to feel much less comfortable saying or writing "AI." Luckily, a new term was just then coming into currency -- "cognitive science" -- and I started to favor that way of describing my research interests, since it clearly stresses the idea of fidelity to what actually goes on in the human mind/brain, as well as the pure-science nature of the endeavor. Nowadays, I seldom call myself an "artificial-intelligence researcher" any more, choosing instead to say that I am a cognitive scientist."
["Cognitive science" is essentially the science of human cognition, and encompasses three main academic interests, psychology, neuroscience, and the DH orientation of AI (the mind and human cognition as mechanized computation.]
Now, I state all of the above to return to the question as to whether and to what extent BYU embraces cognitive science, and its related principles of psychology, neuroscience, and AI.
Here is the advertised BYU program:https://psychology.byu.edu/cognitive-and-behavioral-neuroscience-psychology-phd
Notice first that it is in the psychology department, rather than the computer science department, which suggests to me that AI is not emphasized within the psychology of cognitive science. (AI is in the computer science department.) In any event, the standard starting assumption of ALL cognitive science research is Crick's hypothesis, which states:
"The Astonishing Hypothesis is that "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."
My question is this: How in the world does the cognitive science department at BYU navigate this assumption within the theological constraints of Mormonism? Modern psychology, neuroscience, and traditional AI are manifestly opposed to any view of human beings as embodied "souls" destined for eternal life.
Can anyone on RfM comment on *this* question?