Selmer Bringsjord

Professor, Cognitive Science

Selmer Bringsjord is Professor of Cognitive Science, Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Logic & Philosophy, Professor of Management & Technology, and Director of Rensselaer AI and Reasoning Laboratory.  He specializes in the logico-mathematical and philosophical foundations of artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive science, and in collaboratively building AI systems on the basis of computational logic. Though he spends considerable “engineering" time in pursuit of ever-smarter computing machines, he says that “armchair" reasoning time has enabled him to deduce that the human mind will forever be superior to such machines.

"Soon enough, much of what many humans do for a living will be better done by indefatigable machines who require not a cent in pay,” Bringsjord said. “I figure the ultimate growth industry will be building smarter and smarter such machines on the one hand, and philosophizing about whether they are truly conscious and free on the other.  Job security is nice.  I've worked in this two-fold industry for a long time, and plan to continue as long as my health holds out."

Bringsjord is the author of papers and essays ranging in approach from the mathematical to the informal, and covering such areas as AI, logic, gaming, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, robotics, and ethics and he has of late begun to move into the area of computational economics, for which he has invented a new paradigm based on formal logic.

He is the author of What Robots Can & Can't Be, concerned with the future of attempts to create robots that behave as humans, and also Superminds: People Harness Hypercomputation, and More. Before the second of these books he wrote, with IBM's David Ferrucci, Articial Intelligence and Literary Creativity: Inside the Mind of Brutus, A Storytelling Machine.

Bringsjord currently holds appointments in the Department of Cognitive Science, the Department of Computer Science, and the Lally School of Management & Technology, and teaches AI, formal logic, human and machine reasoning, philosophy of AI, other topics relating to formal logic, and the intellectual history of New York City and the Hudson Valley. Funding for his research and development has come from the Luce Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, AT&T, IBM, Apple, AFRL, ARDA/DTO/IARPA, ONR, DARPA, AFOSR, and other sponsors. Bringsjord has consulted to and advised many companies in the general realm of intelligent systems, and continues to do so.

Bringsjord has received many honors including, recently, the 2011 Annual Rensselaer Trustees Celebration of Faculty Achievement honor for research excellence, the 2008 Undergraduate Research Program Mentor Award; the 2007 Best Paper Award for “Provability Based Semantic Interoperability"; and the 2005 Best Paper Award from GameOn2005.


PhD, Philosophy. Brown University

Research Focus
  • logic and artificial intelligence
  • foundations of artificial intelligence and cognitive science
  • computational creativity
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