Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Systems and the Learning Brain

New ideas about artificial intelligence and cognitive computing systems in education have been advanced this year by major computing and educational businesses, including Pearson and IBM. Pearson’s promotion of AI reflects its growing interests in data analytics and other digital methods while IBM is seeking to extend its existing R&D on cognitive computing into the education sector.

AI has been the subject of serious debate recently. High profile figures including Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have voiced concern about the threats it poses, while awareness about cognitive computing has been fueled by widespread media coverage of Google’s AlphaGo system. Commenting on these recent events, the philosopher Luciano Floridi has noted that contemporary AI and cognitive computing, however, cannot be characterized as some kind of “ultraintelligence.” Instead, machine intelligence is manifesting itself in far more mundane ways through an “infosphere” of “ordinary artefacts that outperform us in ever more tasks, despite being no cleverer than a toaster.”

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