Dr Matthew Egbert

Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, University of Auckland
Director of Graduate Studies, School of Computer Science, University of Auckland
Principal Investigator, Centre for Computational Evolution, University of Auckland
Associate Editor of Adaptive Behavior

email: m.egbert@auckland.ac.nz
tel: +64 9 923 7027

Research Overview

Artificial Minds

Much of AI research focuses upon creating machines that can solve problems, but there is more to natural minds (human and animal minds) than just ability to solve problems. We pick the problems we want to solve, we experience the world through our senses, we have desires, experience pain, etc. What do classical approaches in AI (computationalist cognitivism, connectionism / machine learning) miss in their focus upon problem solving? How can we understand subjective elements of mind (such as those listed above) sufficiently well so as to create artificial instances of them?

My ultimate goal here is not to actually create artificial minds, but to improve our understanding of our own minds and what it means to be a thinking being that is capable of experience. My approach to these topics is inspired by sensorimotor contingency theory, enaction, cybernetics and "embodied" approaches to cognition which focus on the important role that bodies and environments play (in addition to brains!) in cognition. I build computational models to explore and evaluate new ideas or ways of thinking about mind.