The big bang of the human mind, and our desire to build artificial beings

[slideshare id=46037137&doc=thebirthofart-150319085231-conversion-gate01]

The “big bang of the human mind” took place around 40,000 years ago, when our prehistoric ancestors developed general purpose language. The reasons why this happened are yet unclear, and probably involve a number of genetic mutations. We know that something changed because of the emergence of art, as well as dramatic changes in hunting methods, tool-making, and the systematic and ritualistic burial of the dead that suggests belief in an afterlife.

This presentation explores the latest findings of cognitive archeology in order to propose an idea: that ever since we developed our modern minds we have become dualists, i.e. we have become hardwired to assume other minds (the so called “theory of mind”) in other people, but also in animals and objects. Perhaps then, it is this faculty of the modern human mind that compels us to engineer machines “in our own image”: intelligent robots and androids that look like us, think like us, and behave like us.

For more on this idea, and how it provides a fresh insight to our technological quest for Artificial Intelligence, see my book “In our own image – will artificial intelligence save us or destroy us?” (Rider Books, 2015).