The 2013 Lovelace lecture was delivered by Grady Booch, Chief Scientist of Software Engineering at IBM Research.
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'I think, therefore I am: Is the mind computable?'
The human race may be singular, unique across all of time and space. It may be just one of multitudes. Most likely, however, it is an extremely rare thing, an exquisitely precious consequence of the unfolding of the laws of the universe. Still, one truth that we can assert with confidence is that we are. We are self-aware; we know that we know we exist.
And yet, we don't want to be alone in our existence; there seems to be within humanity a drive to create machines in our own image. From the Golem of Jewish mythology, to Leonardo’s robot, to the contemporary Kenshiro robot, we project our hopes and our fears into cunning mechanism that mirror us. While these anthropomorphic robots are interesting, there is a less visible revolution taking place in cognitive computing, whose advances are not only helping us better understand the operation of the human brain, they are leading us to create the illusion of sentience.
Grady explores the development of intelligent computers as projections of what we both dream and what we fear. We examine what it means to be intelligent, and take a journey through past and future approaches to building sentient software-intensive systems. Some such as Minsky believe the mind to be computable; others such as Penrose do not. In the end, we are compelled to consider the question of what it means to be human.
About the speaker
Grady is recognised internationally for his innovative work in improving the art and the science of software development. He is currently developing a major transmedia project for broadcast, titled Computing: The Human Experience. Now in the role of Chief Scientist of Software Engineering at IBM Research, Grady has served as architect and architectural mentor for numerous complex software-intensive systems around the world in just about every domain imaginable. The author of six best-selling books, Grady has published several hundred articles on computing and has lectured around the world on topics as diverse as software methodology and the morality of computing. He is an IBM Fellow, an ACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, a World Technology Network Fellow, and a Software Development Forum Visionary. Grady serves on the board of the Computer History Museum. Grady received his bachelor of science from the United States Air Force Academy in 1977 and his masters of science in electrical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1979.