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November 28, 2005
Emotional Neurotechnology - Who Needs Emotions?
My book review of Who Needs Emotions? The Brain Meets the Robot is published this month in the Lancet Neurology. While copyrights hold me back from publishing the review here, I will say that the 499 page book is an important contribution to the field of emotional neurotechnology. It contains a stimulating collection of chapters from some of the most prominent neuroscientists and artificial intelligence experts around.
One of my favorite chapters was written by Ann E Kelley and focused on understanding how the brain processes emotions, how emotions evolved and the neurobiological substrates of emotions. I write, "Within the space of a few dozen pages, Kelley traverses evolutionary time and looks at the neurochemical networks encoding emotion and motivation. The role of dopamine in reward and plasticity, serotonin in aggression and depression and opioid peptides in pain and pleasure are discussed as critical neuromodulators that have given rise to an extraordinary amount of behavioral flexibility."
"So what about the robots? Researchers in artificial intelligence are interested in leveraging emotions to build systems that can perform unanticipated tasks in unpredictable environments. Despite the progress being made in these systems, most AI researchers concede that improved outcomes (of their models) will need better models of how human beings respond (in their emotional state) to new situations."
At the end of the day, I highly recommend the book for searchers and graduate students across neuroscience and computer science.
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