DO ROBOTS HAVE A MIND OF THEIR OWN?

Issue date: 12 January 2004


ISSUE DATE: 12/01/04

New UWE academic leads innovative robotics course starting September 2004

Dr Dylan Evans has recently taken up post as Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Autonomous Systems in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at the University of the West of England. Dr Evans will be responsible for the development of an exciting and possibly unique BSc in Robotics due to begin in September 2004.

According to Dylan, “The UWE BSc in Robotics will be the first truly interdisciplinary course in the field, as will combine traditional engineering subjects like mechanics and programming with ideas drawn from biology, psychology and even philosophy.”

Dylan is well suited to lead such an interdisciplinary course, having done research in a wide range of subjects, including linguistics, the theory and practice of ‘Lancian’ psychoanalysis (which he has since rejected), philosophy and evolutionary robotics. Theses studies have taken him to Southampton, Buenos Aires and Buffalo (USA). After completing his PhD in Philosophy at the LSE, he did postdoctoral work at King’s College London and most recently at the University of Bath. “If there is one thing that has remained constant throughout my career so far”, Dylan says, “it is my interest in emotion.” And it was this that first got him interested in robotics. “In my book Emotion”, he says, “I wondered about the possibility of robots acquiring emotions. I became increasingly interested in a discipline known as evolutionary robotics and was fortunate to get the research position at the University of Bath which has lead to my recent appointment here at UWE.”

Dr Evans has written several popular science books including Introducing Evolutionary Psychology (Icon, 1999), which was required reading for the actors in the Matrix trilogy, and Placebo: The Belief Effect (Harper Collins 2003). He writes regularly for the Guardian and the Evening Standard, makes frequent appearances on radio and television and often gives talks at festivals of science and literature. In 2001 he was voted one of twenty best young writers in Britain by the Independent on Sunday, and was recently described by the Guardian as ‘Alain de Botton in a lab coat’. He also does occasional performance as a DJ at Literary events such as the Hay Festival of Literature and the Orange Prize for Fiction.

-ENDS-

Editor’s notes

Jpeg photograph of Dylan Evans available upon request from the Press Office.

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