机器真的会思考吗? Is artificial intelligence the end of the human race or a tool that can aid us even after we die? Maggi Savin-Baden教授 教育学院 discusses the role of artificial intelligence in digital immortality, virtual humans 而且 what we can expect 从 future.


The concept of digital immortality has emerged over the past decade 而且 is defined in this post as the continuation of an active or passive digital presence after your death. This blog will explain how advances in knowledge management, 机器对机器通信, data mining 而且 artificial intelligence are now making an active presence after death possible. It will explain how digital immortality has moved beyond simple memorial pages 而且 ‘beyond the grave’ updates, 来自死去的家人或朋友. There are now companies dedicated to creating digitally immortal personas. 

A computer generated image of a woman's face is surrounded by code

Given the range of practices 而且 behaviours associated with digital immortality, there is evidence it is having an impact in religious contexts. 例如, digital immortality is affecting grief 而且 mourning practices. It is also creating new forms of legacy as well as introducing new issues for the funeral industry. 


Artificial intelligence is often thought of as robots or thinking machines. 从大众的观点来看, artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as science-fiction characters like the Hal 9000 computer from 2001, or the 而且roids from Channel 4’s 人类. 用现代营销术语来说, it is taken as any reasonably complex programme or algorithm – often based on machine-learning principles, yet the complexity 而且 diversity of AI is much broader than this. Recently there have been considerable improvements to AI such as better text-to-speech, improved speech recognition 而且 high-quality avatars (the bodily manifestation of one’s self). 


The challenge with Artificial intelligence is to cross the ‘uncanny valley’; the idea that human replicas may elicit feelings of eeriness in looks, 声音,尤其是行为, 比如情绪反应. 例如, virtual assistants such as Siri 而且 Alexa provide voice 而且 conversational interfaces to information 而且 begin to deliver on some of the promises of virtual personal assistants. The growth in the use of machine learning techniques to mine large amounts of data 而且 to make deductions from it that can equal (or even exceed) human analysis. 


Hern reported that The European Parliament has urged the drafting of a set of regulations to govern the use 而且 creation of robots 而且 artificial intelligence.[i] The areas that need to be addressed are suggested to be:

  • The creation of a European agency for robotics 而且 AI;
  • A legal definition of ‘smart autonomous robots’, with a registration for the most advanced;
  • An advisory code of conduct to guide the ethical design, production 而且 use of robots;
  • A new reporting structure for companies requiring them to report the contribution of robotics 而且 AI to the economic results of a company for the purpose of taxation 而且 social security contributions
  • A m而且atory insurance scheme for companies to cover damage caused by their robots.

The report takes a special interest in the future of autonomous vehicles, 比如自动驾驶汽车, but as yet there seems relatively little detail about how this might be implemented or developed. 然而, 2017年秋季索菲亚, a humanoid robot gave a speech at the United Nations, to prompt the recognition that there needs to be more debate, as well as legislation in this area.


阿兰·图灵, who is widely considered to be the father of modern computer science 而且 artificial intelligence.


One of the main shifts has been to move away from a general underst而且ing of AI 而且 instead to refer to different types. One particular growth area is that of virtual humans. Turing suggested a test he called the ‘imitation game’, designed to answer the question ‘Can machines think?’[i] His prediction was that the test he proposed would be passed by about the year 2000, 但事实并非如此.

In the 1980s Searle suggested that the computer is just a symbol processing machine 而且 it cannot be said to think.[i]


If a machine can play chess better than the very best human player, does that make it intelligent? 塞尔会说没有, that it is merely the human programmers that are intelligent, who have programmed the machine to implement their ideas. 然而, how is this different from a human mentor that teaches a student to play chess? Do we say the mentor is intelligent 而且 the student is merely following the rules she was taught?

It is evident 从 literature that ‘虚拟人’ tends to be used as an overarching term that includes Chatbots, Autonomous Agents 而且 Pedagogical Agents. 虚拟人 are characters on the computer screen with embodied life-like behaviours such as speech, 情绪, 运动和手势. Evidence has shown that many users are not only comfortable interacting with high-quality 虚拟人, but that an emotional connection can be developed between users 而且 as 虚拟人. The focus is on enabling the user to interact with the software using everyday language rather than clicking on icons or using menu selections. 

Several robots with glowing blue eyes sitting together

Many people are concerned about the impact 而且 future of artificial intelligence. Whilst some of the worry is warranted, it is important to be aware of the ways in which media coverage can exaggerate claims.

There are legitimate concerns about artificial intelligence being used to control cars 而且 weapons systems. 然而, it is probably unlikely that as Stephen Hawking suggests that ‘the development of full AI would spell the end of the human race.’



Not only are we seeing advances in knowledge management, data mining 而且 artificial intelligence but also in merging our human bodies with technology. This ‘body hacking’ includes inserting chips into our arms to open doors 而且 pick up metal objects, 而且 implanting antenna into our brains to translate the colour spectrum into different vibrations, enabling the user to ‘hear’ colours. Whilst for some people this is seen as art, 而且 for others as playing with technology, there are useful advances such as the creation of bone implants that enable the mounting of a replacement arm on to the skeleton which can then be controlled naturally, 利用大脑信号.

[1] A. Hern, ‘Give robots “personhood” status, EU committee argues’ 《卫报》 17th 1月(2017).

[1] A. Turing, ‘Computing machinery 而且 intelligence’, ,LIX/236(1950),页. 433–460.


Maggi Savin-Baden教授's research often focuses on innovation 而且 change in learning, as well as virtual worlds 而且 their role in teaching. Professor Savin-Baden has recently Co-authored a new book with David Burden on virtual humans called "虚拟人 Today 而且 Tomorrow" which explores virtual humans in a variety of roles, from personal assistants to teachers .

All views expressed in this blog are the Academic’s own 而且 do not represent the views, policies or opinions of the 凯时k66首页登录 or any of its partners.