Professor Selmer Bringsjord, Chair, Dept of Cognitive Science


Professor Selmer Bringsjord, Chair, Dept of Cognitive Science

Sage 4101

October 14, 2009 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


A computer, however powerful, doesn't much like English (or for that matter any other natural language). (To prove this, try talking to your computer the way you might to a colleague. In point of fact, your computer, as of 2009, no matter what software is running upon it, can't even handle the English you would use to communicate efficiently with a neurobiologically normal toddler.) Given my desire to impart to a machine the concept of pure, unadulterated evil, this means that I need to give to the machine a definition of evil that it *can* understand: I need to give it a *formal* definition. I report in this talk on my longstanding effort to craft this definition, and on two synthetic characters (E and Arnie) intended to possibly instantiate it, and therefore to themselves possibly be evil. You may have read about E in the media; you haven't heard about Arnie. Arnie is a rather unsavory chap who arguably makes even the darker characters in *24* seem luminous by comparison, and who appears among other places in the play *Calculi of Death*, a pre-publication & pre-performance version of which is available at

Calculi of Death

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