Interlinked. Machines and humans facing the 10101 century

Robotics and artificial intelligence are two scientific research fields that receive considerable attention from the media and, consequently, from society. Unfortunately, many advances are reported to the general public in sensationalist (or even alarmist) terms, leading to false hopes or unjustified fears, and taking the focus from other key points. For instance, recent successes in artificial intelligence, amplified by the media, are the cause of a mistaken perception of this discipline’s state of the art. The reality is that artificial intelligence is still far from achieving many high-level cognitive skills; particularly, common sense reasoning. Computers will keep increasing in competence, but it will be a long time until they develop a true understanding of the world around them, assuming it is at all possible. On the other hand, the debate on ethical issues arising from robotics advances, such as the use of robots for social environments and functions (like teachers or nannies) or the socioeconomical effects of the introduction of robots in industrial contexts to substitute human labour, keeps being postponed.

The present monograph aims to pick up these issues and, above all, infect Mètode SSJ’s readers with enthusiasm for an exciting field. Therefore, we suggest a journey from the beginnings of artificial intelligence and its pending challenges to some of its most surprising (and difficult to understand) successes and failures; from humans who amplify their abilities through brain-computer interfaces to humanoid robots designed to imitate humans’ movements and skills; from the great potential of robotics to help humankind in the most daring circumstances to the ethical, social, and affective challenges related to the introduction of robots in everyday life. All this thanks to leading international experts on the increasingly complex relationship between machines and the humans who created them.

© Mètode 2018 - 99. Online only. Interlinked - Autumn 2018
PhD in Computer Science and Research Professor at the Robotics Institute (CSIC-UPC, Spain), where she leads a research group in assistive and collaborative robotics. She is a believer in science fiction as a tool to promote ethics in robotics and new technologies. She wrote the novels Enxarxats (Males Herbes, 2017) and La mutació sentimental (Pagès Editors, 2008) which won the Pedrolo and Ictineu awards and was translated into English with the title The vestigial heart (MIT Press, 2018).
Research Professor and Director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute at the Spanish National Research Council (IIIA-CSIC, Bellaterra, Spain). He holds a PhD in physics from the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Computer Science from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. He is also a numerary member of the Institute of Catalan Studies. He currently researches reasoning by analogy, machine learning techniques for humanoid robots, and artificial intelligence applied to music, and has published around 300 scientific papers in these fields. In 2017, he published the popular science book Inteligencia artificial within the «Qué sabemos de» collection (Los Libros de la Catarata).