A Few Topic Ideas for Cognitive Science

I have given my Cognitive Science paper a little thought and come up with a few options for places to start my paper from:

  • Is the human brain or an artificial intelligence a more effective decision-making system? — This topic is very basic, and very subjective. I think I can write an effective paper on the topic by approaching the question theoretically and establishing what has to be considered to even know what an effective decision-making system is. Once I have established my own position based on available published work on the topic of decision making systems I can begin to form an argument for one system or the other. Each has clear advantages, but which one is overall more effective?
  • Artificial Neural Networks as an approach to Artificial Intelligence — This one is simplistic. Essentially looking at the micro-level implementation of independent systems that form a larger system for addressing large tasks. Mechanically, this approach duplicates the human brain. Is this a good approach? It works for biological organisms, but biological organisms in themselves are designed to function that way, electronic systems are not. Are neural networks the wrong approach for artificial intelligence and artificial cognition?
  • What is intelligence? — This topic is completely philosophical in nature. It has been approached by every major philosopher and theorist that has ever conceived of knowledge or knowing. I don’t know that I could handle it in the 10 pages I’m given, nor do I feel comfortable with the level of understanding I presently have of intelligence. If I did this now, as an introductory cognitive science student it would be perhaps the most ballsy thing I could do, and would ultimately result in me considering the question in every course in the Cognitive Science program, most likely ending with me completing a thesis on the topic as my final course. It would be a big step, but I’m not sure I want to go there.
  • Can artificial intelligence be considered a true intelligence? — This one is also philosophical, but it is a somewhat less covered topic, and one in a little narrower scope than taking on the whole field of epistemology.  I would have to tangentially address “what is intelligence?”, but in a much lighter form. For this paper I would take on the opinions and positions of theorists before me and address the concept of artificial intelligence really being intelligence from one or more pre-existing theories. The idea behind this paper from my perspective is addressing if any artificial system can ever truly be considered intelligent. Artificial intelligence is based on many complex calculations based on available data, but every decision is based upon programmed instructions that have been written to handle a wide variety of situations and provide adaptations for unexpected occurrences.
  • Is free-will important to intelligence? — This topic is moving from philosophical to very philosophical. It is similar to the question of if artificial intelligence can be considered a true intelligence in that it considers if a programmed entity can ever have free will. This topic also questions the limitations of what an artificial intelligence can do.  When do we consider an artificial intelligence as having free will? When it refuses to follow an instruction? When a personal assistant AI decides it wants to play guitar instead? This topic really isn’t all that well formed yet, but I think it may have some potential.

Posted from Charlotte, North Carolina, United States.