Dr. Arend Hintze
Well, I am looking for a job – a faculty position to be exact. I am not doing this because I don’t like it here at Chris’ lab. Quite the contrary: if it were up to me, I would be happy to be paid to hang around with Chris and create an artificial mind. However, as you may understand, I can’t stay a postdoc forever. So, who should hire me?
I should explain more about myself before answering that. My thesis focused on Genetics and Developmental Biology; I’ve worked on Artificial Life; and Computer Science, programming, computer game design, systems biology, network theory, and cognitive science are all an integral part of my research. I am a truly multidisciplinary scientist, not because I don’t know what I want to do, but because I require all of these skills to accomplish my goal of evolving an Artificial Intelligence.
Being multidisciplinary turns out to be a disadvantage when trying to get a job. When I apply at a Biology department, they wonder what organism I am working on. When I apply at a Computer Science department, they wonder why I am not applying traditional AI approaches instead of using this “evolution” thingy. Even cognitive scientists wonder why I don’t want to understand a human brain first before “evolving” one. Sounds very much like fitting a square peg through a round hole.
I believe that I am working on the key technology for the 21st century: imagine how different the world will be in 50 years, once we have thinking machines. Instead of curing cancer ourselves, we create an AI to cure cancer. These machines could find the solution to global warming, solve our energy crises, handle politics, space exploration, and even offer a new look at philosophy and religion. You see, if you would invest in our research, you invest in all other branches of science and society at the same time.
Since what we are doing is incredibly hard, you need people like me who are not only interdisciplinary, but multidisciplinary. Without my background in Biology, I wouldn’t know how to make complex systems; without my programming skills, I wouldn’t be able to make my own simulations; without being a game designer, my fitness landscapes would be boring; and without my work in cognitive science, I would not evolve the right tasks nor be able to measure cognitive abilities. It just so happens that our academic landscape has difficulties dealing with that type of scientist. I am not focused on a single traditional field, because I do something new and unconventional.
So, if you are interested in creating an AI, think that what we are doing is worth pursuing, and you don’t mind that I do not fit in your usual department categories, hire me!