Questions and (Audio) Answers on
UKCRC GRAND CHALLENGE 5: Architecture of Brain and Mind

Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham


Grand Challenge 5 (GC5) was one of a collection of grand challenges that arose from discussions among the UK Academic Computer Science community in 2002, led by Tony Hoare and Robin Milner, summarised in:

This collection of audio recordings arises out of one of the proposals in the UK initiative on Research Grand Challenges in Computing, namely Grand Challenge 5: Architecture of Brain and Mind described here.

Some the history of that initative is available here:

In December 2004 I was interviewed on the phone about Grand Challenge 5 by Anders Nissen for Danish Broadcasting Corp. Radio 1. In order to provide him with better quality audio than he could obtain recording telephone sound, I recorded my answers locally, and sent him the audio files. These are now available online. In part they talk about the UK Grand Challenge Initiative and in part about the European Community Cognitive Systems initiative (in which we are part of the CoSy Project)

I have no idea whether anyone will find them of any use. Feel free to let me know what you think, if you have the patience to listen to any of them. Each one lasts a few minutes. You will need to be able to play mp3 files, which I find I can do on my Linux machine using xine, mplayer, plaympeg, and possibly other tools.

I did not record the questions asked because they were coming down a phone line and could not be recorded easily. Neither did I make proper notes on the questions. So the questions listed below are reconstructed as well as I can from the answers and from memory, each followed by a link to audio file with the recorded answer.

Question 1.

Why formulate a grand challenge? What is the mission behind the grand challenges?
Answer 1 (mp3 audio 961742 bytes)

Question 2.

Is it just about raising awareness, or is there also an attempt to coordinate international research?
Answer 2 (mp3 audio 425704 bytes)

Question 3.

Have you had any international reactions, e.g. researchers around the world interested in working in a coordinated manner?
Answer 3 (mp3 audio 975175 bytes)

Question 4.

How does the European Community vision differ? Was that a vision of parallel work? Will there be cooperation?
Answer 4 (mp3 audio 148668 bytes)

Question 5.

What do you mean by 'Architecture of Brain and Mind'? Could you explain in basic terms please?
Answer 5 (mp3 audio 1816420 bytes)

Question 6.

How can the work be done on computers or do we need to use more parallel, analog, machines, more like brains than computers?
Answer 6 (mp3 audio 1677690 bytes)

Question 7.

Question about the role of computer science. What about other disciplines?
Answer 7 (mp3 audio 878988 bytes)

Question 8.

Could you describe the sort of robot you are hoping to build? Will there be practical applications?
Answer 8 (mp3 audio 1176574 bytes)

Question 9.

Can you describe some of the problems that will have to be solved, and difficulties to be overcome in order to make the kind of progress you are hoping for?
Answer 9 (mp3 audio 1929161 bytes)

Question 10.

How do you see emotions in relation to computers? Many people are now working on that. Is that part of your grand challenge?
Answer 10 (mp3 audio 1360452 bytes)

Question 11.

Can you say something about the time-span? Are we talking about 5, 10, 50 or 100 years, or more?
Answer 11 (mp3 audio 1907777 bytes)

Question 12.

How can we estimate how soon human intelligence might be replicated? Can we predict how long progress will take? Is there a quantitative basis for predicting the time span?
Answer 12 (mp3 audio 296887 bytes)

Installed: December 2004
Updated: 10 Apr 2005; 31 Jan 2016

This file is maintained by Aaron Sloman.