Paul F.M.J. Verschure's Abstract

Title: The self in action: Volition in men, mice and machines

Abstract: The notion of free will is fundamental for moral responsibility while it is mostly not understood and even questioned as an illusion. In parallel, there is a common concern about future Artificial Intelligence and its applications which assumes artificial volition, raising questions on the realization and control of moral machines. Given this controversial nature of free will, a well-defined theory of this phenomenon is both of great scientific and practical interest. Starting from a well-established theory of mind and brain, called Distributed Adaptive Control (DAC, Verschure, 2016), I will advance a neurobiologically grounded theory of volition, DACv. DACv sees volition as a core process of mind and brain, built from systems for executive control, agency, mind-travel and self. I will provide preliminary data from experiments on intracranially implanted epilepsy patients to support DACv and describe its implementation in an embodied AI system and its current application in neuro-rehabilitation and education.

Reference: Verschure, P. F. (2016). Synthetic consciousness: the distributed adaptive control perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1701), 20150448.