a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Work on flat fish camouflage with Vilayanur S Ramachandran


What we should learn at school and artificial intelligence
Richard Gregory Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
I myself went to a slightly crazy school, which- King Alfred’s in Hampstead, which is an admirable school in many ways actually. A private school, and it has always been run and still is by really delightful people who’ve got a lovely view of the world. It’s got minimum restrains, minimum discipline, which has its pros and it has its cons. I personally think the real problem is that to be effective you absolutely need certain skills which take a lot of effort to learn, certainly for languages which I’m hopeless at. I mean I know these are difficult and time consuming and boring because I’m so bad at them myself because I didn’t have the energy to or the interest to learn these things. I now regret enormously that my French, my German, are hopeless. My mathematics could be an awful lot better if I had had the sort of discipline at an early age to- to learn the necessary nitty gritty facts and ideas and concepts and skills, you know. So somehow a school has to engender the basic skills that you need and also have the freedom to allow you to use them in the way you want to use them, develop them the way you want to go, and I don’t know how one combines these two. Somehow you need both, I think. Personally, I’ve never had enough sort of discipline really. I’ve had to develop that as I’ve gone along, I think, to discipline myself. I don’t know, it’s a tricky one, isn’t it, really? Again, you know, I just wonder whether machines are going to come in here. I’d like to plug in French into my brain so when I go to France I plug in there, when I go to Germany I plug in another bit. I mean how much could machines, you know, solve these silly problems? Is that part of your AI work? Yeah. I actually think we’ll be very intimate with AI devices which, you know, really augment our own limitations. I think we’ll deal very, very closely with more or less intelligent machines into the future, is what I think will happen. I think, hopefully, I think it will be great actually, why not? And after all, I mean if one does carpentry, one extends one’s hands using chisels and screwdrivers and saws, and they’re obviously different from our hands which is why we need them, your hands can do certain things, these can do others. And the same with mental abilities. I think we need similar sort of idea of technology extending our brain, extending our eyes as with telescopes and microscopes, but actually also for thinking itself and my belief is this is how technology will go, I think it will go into actual thinking. Then, of course, you’re going to be left with emotional psychology and emotional problems in life and to think of a machine solving emotional problems is, at the moment, I think beyond comprehension or understanding and may never happen, I don’t know.

The late British psychologist and Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol, Richard Gregory (1923-2010), is well known for his work on perception, the psychology of seeing and his love of puns. In 1978 he founded The Exploratory, an applied science centre in Bristol – the first of its kind in the UK. He also designed and directed the Special Senses Laboratory at Cambridge which worked on the perceptual problems of astronauts, and published many books including 'The Oxford Companion to the Mind', 'Eye and Brain' and 'Mind in Science'.

Listeners: Sally Duensing Adam Hart-Davis

Sally Duensing currently is involved in perception exhibition work and research on science and society dialogue programmes and is working with informal learning research graduate students and post-docs at King's College, London. In 2000 she held the Collier Chair, a one-year invited professorship in the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Bristol, England. Prior to this, for over 20 years she was at the Exploratorium, a highly interactive museum of science, art and perception in San Francisco where she directed a variety of exhibition projects primarily in fields of perception and cognition including a large exhibition on biological, cognitive and cultural aspects of human memory.

Born on 4 July 1943, Adam Hart-Davis is a freelance photographer, writer, and broadcaster. He has won various awards for both television and radio. Before presenting, Adam spent 5 years in publishing and 17 years at Yorkshire Television, as researcher and then producer of such series as Scientific Eye and Arthur C Clarke's World of Strange Powers. He has read several books, and written about 25. His latest books are Why does a ball bounce?, Taking the piss, Just another day, and The cosmos: a beginner's guide. He has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles. He is a keen supporter of the charities WaterAid, Practical Action, Sustrans, and the Joliba Trust. A Companion of the Institution of Lighting Engineers, an Honorary Member of the British Toilet Association, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Dyers and Colourists, and Merton College Oxford, and patron of a dozen charitable organizations, Adam has collected thirteen honorary doctorates, The Horace Hockley Award from the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators, a Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Medal from the Institute of Incorporated Engineers, and the 1999 Gerald Frewer memorial trophy of the Council of Engineering Designers. He has no car, but three cycles, which he rides slowly but with enthusiasm.

Duration: 3 minutes, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2006

Date story went live: 02 June 2008