Limits of Neural Computation in Humans and Machines

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

3 Scopus citations


Aicardi et al. (Ethical and social aspects of neurorobotics, Science and Engineering Ethics, 2020) look to neuroscience to mitigate the limitations of current robotics technology. They propose that robotics technology guided by neuroscience has the capacity to create intelligent robots that function with awareness and capacity for abstraction and reasoning. As neurorobotics extends the capability of robotics technology, it introduces new social and ethical concerns, in particular co-opting civilian applications for military use (dual-use), conflicts between industry and the academy (industry-academy partnerships), and data security (data governance). However, here we argue that empirical evidence has shown that human cognition is faulty; therefore there is not a clear motivation to build intelligent robots on a human model; representation of meaning in the brain is not well-understood; therefore neuro-robotics is limited; and to the extent that intelligent robots become a reality, the ethics of robot rights will be of central concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2547-2553
Number of pages7
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Information processing
  • Neural networks
  • Probabilistic models
  • Robot rights


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