Some pointers to press and other media interest in the work on the Cognition and Affect project and the CoSy (Cognitive Systems for Cognitive Assistants) project at the University of Birmingham.

Online Interviews

See the interviews web page which points to some audio interviews and email interviews.

Quoted in New Scientist

Interviewed at KI'2006

In Bremen I was interviewed by Peter König. We talked in English but the interview is reported in German here.
He reported my two-word definition of intelligence as "productive laziness"
(In German: Produktive Faulheit ???)

In July 2005, Linda World, Senior Editor IEEE Computer Society,

wrote an article for IEEE Intelligent Systems which appeared with the title AI and Philosophy: How Can You Know the Dancer from the Dance? in the July/August 2005.

In December 2004: Aaron Sloman was interviewed about GC-5 by Anders Nissen for the Danish Broadcasting Corp.

Recordings of the answers to his questions are online here.

Article on CoSy in Electronics Weekly 5th Nov 2004

Researchers in artificial intelligence (AI) at the University of Birmingham are participating in a EUR6.25m, four-year European project to develop a cognitive robot: CoSy (Cognitive Systems for Cognitive Assistants).

There's a link to this on the AITOPICS web site:

A report in the Education Guardian by Chris Arnot (4th Jan 2005) summarised in ACM Technews.

The Times, 11 Sept 2003,

Anjana Ahuja, a science journalist wrote a short article on the UKCRC grand challenge project on Architecture of Brain and Mind (GC5) in the Times. It is online here:,,1-50-811189,00.html

The Next Big Thing: Open University/BBC discussion on the possibility of AI

A video of this programme, first broadcast in March 2002, is available online at
A partial transcript is on an OpenUniversity web site here.
    Artificial intelligence
    We ask whether computers can think in a human fashion

Daily Telegraph Feature: Will Robots Ever Learn to Love

On Wednesday 4th July 2001, Roger Highfield produced a full page feature inspired by the film AI, including short comments by Steve Jones, Stevan Harnad, Dave Cliff, Rosalind Picard and Aaron Sloman, on robots, emotions and intelligence.

An online version is at

The article starts "The film A.I. has sparked a debate on artificial intelligence, so Roger Highfield asked leading researchers if man could build a machine with emotions. AFTER decades of stigmatisation on our movie screens, robots are about to reveal their caring side in A.I., the celluloid offspring of two master film makers, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg."

Jan/Feb 2000 Survey in IEEE Intelligent Systems and their applications

Aaron Sloman was invited in December 1999 to contribute to a survey of opinions for a special issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems and their applications.

The contribution is included in this article:

    AI's greatest trends and controversies, edited by Haym Hirsh
    amd Marti A. Hearst, in
    IEEE Intelligent Systems and their applications,
    Jan/Feb 2000 pp 8--17
available online in plain text format and in PDF

The article starts thus:

    The transition to the next millennium gives us an opportunity to
    reflect on the past and project the future. In this spirit, we
    have asked a set of distinguished scholars and practitioners who
    were involved in AI's formative stages to describe, in just a few
    paragraphs, the most notable trend or controversy (or nontrend or
    noncontroversy) during AI's development.

Guardian report on machines and emotions 25 Nov 1999

An article appeared by Michael Brooks.

New Scientist Article on Pride (By Jeremy Webb, 1998)
The article (now available free of charge) starts
* 28 March 1998
* Magazine issue 2127
"DO birds consider whether the nest they have built is better than the one built in the next tree?" asks Aaron Sloman, professor of artificial intelligence and cognitive science at the University of Birmingham. "I doubt it." If his assessment is correct, it's a safe bet that you won't find a bird that feels pride. Sloman's point is that being proud isn't easy. At the very least you need a sense of "self" and a way to compare yourself with others. So feeling superior takes a higher level of mental complexity than most animals can muster. That doesn't apply to all emotions. The fear that keeps animals out of the path of a predator or a speeding car, for instance, is almost universal across species and needs little or no thought. But it's the complex emotions like pride that fascinate Sloman. He believes that they arise naturally from the information-processing ...
I have some notes on pride that I wrote as a result of being interviewed for this article, here:

New Scientist Supplement on Emotions -- 1996

In April 1996 the New Scientist had a supplement on emotions, including a brief report on our work, along with work at MIT, CMU and elsewhere. To read it you may have to register (it's free) at

The URL is:

This is actually the fourth page of an article by David Concar New Scientist Planet Science: You're wrong, Mr. Spock

British Association for the Advancement of Science - 1996

There is a BBC web page reporting on discussions of consciousness at the Festival of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Thursday 12th Sept 1996.

(The report says that I don't do any system building. That's not so. See, for instance the overview of the SIM_AGENT Toolkit. My own summary of my talk at that conference is here.)

The NET (BBC2) 1997

There was an interview with Aaron Sloman about prospects for emotions in robots, and related topics, in the BBC2 programme The NET, on Monday 10th Feb 1997.

Danish Radio 1998

Kan man lave en computer med fxlelsesmfssig intelligens? Altse en computer der ligner et menneske i tanke og fxlelse?

An interview with Rikke Magnussen was broadcast on Danish Radio, in 1998. Title: ``Computers with feelings (Computer med fxleser)'' Online audio version at Real Audio week 11 (REALAUDIO FRA UGE 11) 1998. The audio file is (I have not tried listening to it!)

BBC SoundByte -- 1997

There was a short interview about our work broadcast in the SoundBytes programme on the BBC world service on 8th June 1997. This is online at the BBC world service site: In this interview Violet Berlin asked how we might enable computers to feel and express emotions. E.g. in future should we be able to see computers not just win at chess but also enjoy winning? The audio file is online. (I have not tried listening to it!)

THES Article 1996

Design for a table of the mind
8 March 1996
By Kam Patel

The article starts:

Researchers working on consciousness could benefit greatly from incorporating notions of design employed by engineers and software creators into their work, according to Aaron Sloman of Birmingham University's school of computer science.

In a lecture last week at the Royal Society of Arts, Professor Sloman, a philosopher, advocated a systems approach to consciousness. He said that much research wrongly uses such words as "conscious", "aware" and "experience" as if they had clear fixed meanings and there were clear distinctions between things they apply to and things they do not apply to.

This generates the illusion that consciousness is something that is either present or absent in an object and tempts researchers to ask "pseudo- questions" such as which animals have consciousness, how it evolved, could a robot have it and whether consciousness was reducible to physics?

Another tempting mistake is to present consciousness as a matter of degree as in differences between states of consciousness and differences between animals.



Following a press release from Digital after they sold us some Digital Unix Alphastations late in 1996, there was a flurry of enquiries about our research from reporters and broadcasters, and several articles appeared in computer magazines and newspapers over the following months. E.g. Computer Weekly for May 29th 1997 had an article about our work. Apparently not available online.

The Telegraph

The Telegraph had a short article Emotional times for computers on some of our work on 20th May 1997, triggered by the press announcement from Digital.


An article 'Behind the Brain' by Geoff Watts, apparently from a BBC Radio4 broadcast in 2000 is available here

More information on the Cognition and Affect project.

The SIM_AGENT toolkit.

Talks and presentations since about 2001 (PDF)

This file is maintained by Aaron Sloman, and designed to be lynx-friendly, and viewable with any browser.
Last updated 26 May 2009; 4 Oct 2010