Uncanny Learning 

When, in early 2018, I woke up having suddenly lost my sense of taste, it was the first symptom of a degenerative neurological disorder. At the time I was working deeply in the design of our AI system and losing this ability went a long way in helping me viscerally understand tricky things in AI. The richness of my new experience, despite being a loss of ability, gave me a whole new slate of tools to understand this adventure that I never would have otherwise gained. The opportunity to contemplate both ability and disability with forethought and preparedness, is an opportunity that very few humans in the world will ever have.

These experiences have led me to my current project: to understand the quirks of humanity as it relates to artificial intelligence. Biases and adaptations in our cognitive systems inspire our culture, art, and society, but we fail to think of artificial intelligence the same way. Instead of respecting the differences, we consider them errors to be fixed. Meanwhile the errors in our cognitive system we find full of meaning. There is a great deal we can learn about ourselves by comparing these differences to how machines might perform the same task.

Science and technology teaches us about ourselves: our capabilities, our uniquenesses, and our limitations. It enriches our individual lives and helps us unlock the secrets of our world. But humanity extends far further. What do we consider unique about ourselves and our history? How can technology add richness to these motifs?

Currently, I am working on exploring fiction as it relates to how humans understand a narrative story, and the function of lying in our society. So far, artificial intelligence has not gained the propensity to lie on its own, like human children do.