Tatyana Chernigovskaya: A Computer Can’t Be Humane

Tatyana Chernigovskaya: A Computer Can’t Be Humane

On artificial intelligence and responsibility of scientists

Contemporary world is significantly from what it used to be not that long ago. Today it is fluent, transparent, and superfast. Technologies are rapidly developing today. People are literally surrounded with robot vacuum cleaners, smart houses, and personal assistant devices. What opportunities and dangers does development of artificial intelligence have in store for people? Tatyana Chernigovskaya, a well-known neurolinguist, shared her opinion.

Tatyana Chernigovskaya - Honorary professor and scientist of Russia, a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Education, PhD in Biology, PhD in Philology, professor of the Department of General Linguistics, the Head of the Department of the Problems of Convergence in Natural Sciences and Humanities, the Head of the Laboratory for Cognitive Studies of St. Petersburg State University

New technologies have made the life of people much easier. Today, they perform many household and professional tasks instead of people. “I am not against machines helping us. But we are rapidly approaching the moment when the programmes will start playing people’s role. That is why it is high time for us to stop and ask ourselves what we are moving towards and what life plans we have”, says Tatyana Chernigovskaya.


During thematic scientific discussions, Ms. Chernigovskaya often asks about what will happen to those people replaced by digital systems. She is skeptical about the idea that they will be able to dedicate themselves to creative work. “Do you really believe that millions of people will go in for music and painting after being freed of their hard labour? There will be the opposite thing”, she comments.

According to Tatyana Chernigovskaya, if machines do all the work instead of people, the ‘civilization of idleness’ will come, but humanity is not ready to live in it.

“This is not good and not bad. This is already happening. We are already in such a world and there is no way back. We need to understand how to live in this such an environment”, she explains.


Development of artificial intelligence, according to Ms. Chernigovskaya, remains one of the main challenges for humanity. Creation of such a programme presupposes that machines will be able to not only help people with household duties but also take decisions. They will have consciousness and consequently their own plans and goals. In this case, people will have to fully review the legislative system and their moral framework. This is already an acute topic for discussion at symposiums.

New technologies and digital systems cannot replace people. However, they are learning to imitate them.

Experts of the digital world say that brain represents a certain computer and one day they will be able to recreate its structure artificially. However, Ms. Chernigovskaya emphasizes that human’s main organ only resembles a computing machine. The brain has a second part where other processes take place. Those processes are related to creativity and scientific discoveries, many of which are made intuitively. 

If a person wants to compete with a computer in calculation, he or she will inevitably lose. However, people have intuition that digital programmes don’t have and can’t have.

New technologies are rapidly being introduced into our life. At the same time, people tend to believe other people more regarding many issues. Tatyana Chernigovskaya said that special mechanisms that perform more than 99% of surgeries had already been invented. However, surgeons themselves say that they would prefer a human surgeon in case of necessary operation. Machines can’t assess the situation intuitively as people do.

Ms. Chernigovskaya added that the boundaries between the real and virtual world are gradually being erased in the course of technological development. Today, there are a number of technologies able to place people in a different space, the space of visual and auditory simulations. The programmes can also imitate certain smells and tactile sensations. This greatly influences human mind.

Tatyana Chernigovskaya believes that it is important that scientists feel their responsibility for development of the civilisation and life of people.

By making experiments, creating new technologies, and working out certain products people must understand what goals they pursue. “We must understand and remind ourselves about why we are here in order not to waste all necessary resources and eradicate ourselves from the world”, finished Ms. Chernigovskaya.

We are open to dialogue on social networks. You can share your ideas and suggestions on new publications.

Anna Repina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov