Reading each other’s minds

Alongside running through a brief history of Artificial Intelligence (AI), in a recent Jaw on the topic of AI I posed questions such as “What would it take for a computer to be considered minded?” and “What is intelligence?” I also considered in what ways we ourselves might exhibit ‘Artificial Intelligence’. A human can follow instructions to accomplish a task of which she is ignorant, can regurgitate arguments that appear to demonstrate high level analysis but are only acts of remembering and can even reach a conclusion without understanding what it means. To be pawns in a game we do not understand, to be made to think we have arrived at a conclusion ourselves when the result was pre programmed; in these ways we might exhibit Artificial Intelligence. Working in tandem with Roly Botha (Block 5), we were able to demonstrate this principle when the crowd chose two teachers, one of whom who appeared to read the mind of the other, without either party knowing how the very ‘trick’ (effect) they performed had been accomplished. I concluded on a cautionary note by inviting the audience to consider how humanity’s future relationship with Augmented Reality technology might, if used uncritically, allow us to live passive lives, acting without understanding and without intelligence.

By Benedict Haydn-Davies, Teacher of PRE


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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